JFS Newsletter No.116 (April 2012)
The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, caused catastrophic damage in northeastern Japan, particularly in the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. One year later, rehabilitation and reconstruction work continues in the affected areas.
While measures to alleviate the hardships faced by affected people are needed now, rehabilitation and reconstruction work must also continue in the affected areas for some time, and it is now clear that true recovery will take much longer than originally anticipated. JFS believes that during the recovery process, for years to come, it will be important for children to continue having hopes and dreams, for youth to acquire and utilize leadership skills for the reconstruction, and for people to share what they learn with the world while improving the recovery processes in the Tohoku region.
Japan for Sustainability (Chief Executive Junko Edahiro), a non-profit organization created in 2002 to disseminate information on developments and activities originating in Japan that lead toward sustainability, will launch three disaster aid projects with funds raised by Nipponkoa Insurance Co. (President/CEO Masaya Futamiya) through the "Eco-Net Agreement" and "On-Line Policy Confirmation" -- two ways customers can choose to "give back" to society when they renew their insurance policies online.
Among other activities, its work has included youth projects and the launch of a community website for children around the world to create their future, to build hope, and to support capacity building among the younger generations.
In the three prefectures most seriously affected by the 2011 disasters, JFS will conduct the following three projects to help participants take a deeper look at the current situation in Tohoku, to support children in fostering their hopes for the future, and to develop youth leadership for the recovery efforts.
Project 1: Tohoku Kids' Performance for the Future
To encourage and support children in the Tohoku region to be strong and not lose their courage and compassion in the difficult times after the disaster, JFS will support children's hopes and dreams by organizing an event performed by children in the Tokyo metropolitan area to help share their energy and insights with people around the world. The project will be implemented jointly with people in the disaster area. The process of preparing for the performance, focusing on how children feel and grow during the process, will be regularly reported on the project blog.
Project 2: Learning Journey in Tohoku
The project aims to offer students both from Tohoku and other parts of the world a learning journey about the situation in the disaster-affected areas since the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, up to the present, while meeting in person and listening to those who lived through the disaster and are working on the reconstruction. A facilitator experienced in the area of learning organizations will accompany the students, conducting dialogue along the way to draw out diverse points of view from participants and make their learning process a meaningful experience.
At the end of the journey, participants will report on what they have learned during their time in the disaster areas, along with their hopes and dreams for creating a sustainable society.
A JFS "Learn to Create in Tohoku" Project: Learning Journey in Tohoku Application Instructions for Overseas Students
Participating students will benefit from hands-on experiences encountering actual people and contexts which they wouldn't normally experience, diverse points of views within and outside of the learning group, and self and group learning process that allow them to explore their inner selves.
Additionally, the development of capacity for potential youth leaders will go a long way in designing more resilient social systems that will be needed for the recovery of Tohoku. JFS also hopes that learning harvested from the students will provide important case studies for the world to be more resilient and sustainable. In turn, learning that occur outside of Japan will give feedback and new perspectives to the Tohoku region and Japan.
To apply, please read the following information and submit the application form to Japan for Sustainability (tohokuproject[at]japanfs.org) no later than May 20, 2012 (JST). Results of the selection will be announced in early June. Successful applicants are expected to obtain a visa to Japan and travel to the nearest international airport on their own.
Project 3: Youth Leadership Development for Disaster Recovery
JFS will invite youth working for disaster recovery in the Tohoku region and hold leadership training workshops to help them realize their visions for the future. To make a future vision come true while engaging with various stakeholders, three skills are needed: systems thinking to identify leverage points of problems amid complexity, reflective dialogue skills to seek out co-creative and constructive discourse among stakeholders who have different perspectives, and visioning skills to facilitate the creation of shared visions for the future. After the workshops offered to help them gain these skills, JFS will continue in a coaching or advisory role to support participants' development as leaders in disaster recovery processes, while supporting their future activities.
JFS plans to continue working to connect the disaster-affected areas with the rest of the world through these three disaster aid projects.
We will keep you updated on the projects and we do appreciate your support.
Written by Junko Edahiro