April 3, 2011
Tzu Chi (the name means “Compassion and Relief”) is an international humanitarian organization, and the largest NGO in the Chinese-speaking world. It has many branches in Asia, some of which are in Japan.
Tzu Chi volunteers from Japan and Taiwan delivered 20 tons of relief goods, including instant rice that can be prepared with hot or cold water, nuts, eco-friendly blankets, cloaks and sweat shirts to 7,000 people in shelters in Iwate prefecture. In Ofunato, a city of 42,000 that was decimated by the disaster, and Rikuzentaka, an area that was similarly affected, 19 volunteers distributed 1073 boxes of goods throughout the 25th and 26th.
(picture from their blog)
Here are some quotes from their blog:
One seven-year-old boy said: “I am terrified of another tsunami, which could take the lives of everyone. Our school has been destroyed and nobody knows the future.” A lady of 71 with tears in her eyes, said that 16 years ago she had put all her savings into her home: “it vanished in an instant and I do not know how I will pass the rest of my days,” she said.
These volunteers “moved the residents to tears”, and are planning to continue providing aid directly to the victims. You can read their blog here and donate to them here.
April 3, 2011
As I was looking through the various reports by the nonprofits, I found that two organizations, Civic Force and Peace Winds were working together in making baths for those still living in shelters. In Japan, taking baths is a very important part of the people’s lives, so this overlooked effort means a lot. Also, these efforts mean that the rebuilding process is just beginning.
(pictures from Civic Force blog)
In Minamisanriku-chou and Oofunato-shi, construction for baths has started. They made a temporary bath house with 2 baths and a couple of changing booths.
When the architects started construction, the people in the evacuation centers came to watch. One woman said:
“Women take a bath once a week at the bath set up by the Japanese self-defense force (which is only accessible by bus), but the men refrain from taking baths so the women can bathe, even if they have worked hard. I want them to be the ones to bathe first in this new one.”
The staff were touched by the woman’s compassion and thoughtfulness even through the worst situations.
But Civic Force is running into some problems trying to use old boilers that are fueled by wood, as the water continues to be dirty no matter how many times the architects try to fix it. They hope for it to be fixed soon!
Peace Winds also set up a temporary bath place in Ofunato city:
(pictures from their blog)
They have a facebook too, where they are updating what they are doing. Someone has translated their posts in English so you can understand it.
April 2, 2011
GreatNonprofits is actively reaching out to people with information about the relief efforts and the nonprofits working on the ground in Japan. Please feel free to contact us with stories, suggestions or feedback.