Helping Hands for Japan Projects

We have identified some projects that we are now planning to support. These projects will be updated with feedback as they develop and others may be added. If you wish to make a donation you can choose which project you wish to support when using the gift aid form. You can also choose the project supported if you arrange independent fundraising.

1. Oshika Projects coordinated by Caroline Pover
Having lived full-time in Tokyo for almost 15 years, Caroline Pover now shares her time between Japan and the UK. When in the UK she gives talks and raises money for projects she sets up to support the remote fishing communities. When in Japan she is mainly on the Oshika peninsula, living with the fishing communities, listening to what they say they need in order to rebuild their communities, and responding to those needs where possible. To date she has raised almost £94,000, and supported the communities by providing school uniforms, workwear for the fishing communities, construction materials, playgrounds, shrine repair and rebuilding, and a much-needed and much-loved luxury bus stop, among many other things. Caroline does this entirely on a voluntary basis, paying her own flights and expenses …. 100% of your donations go directly to the projects and communities themselves.

2. Tohoku Volunteer Project
We are working closely with Jamie El-Banna who founded Its Not Just Mud. Through his own volunteer work in Ishinomaki he has set up a network to assist placing other volunteers who come to the area, according to the skills and length of stay. We provide advice and assistant for anyone looking to travel to Japan as a volunteer, with Into Japan Specialist Tours providing support in Tokyo before volunteers are assisted on arrival in Ishinomaki. We also support Jamie’s organisation more generally with direct donations to support basic subsistence costs of his volunteer team which includes local people from Ishinomaki. He has recently coordinated volunteer groups from Japanese universities and teams from overseas companies with Tokyo offices.
Funding required: Costs for programme coordinators in Ishinomaki.
Click HERE for more details of the Tohoku Volunteer Programme

3. Ashinaga Foundation (Ashinagaikueikai/あしなが育英会) Tohoku Rainbow House
We have had extended discussions with the Ashinaga Foundation in Tokyo. There are a well established charity based in Japan who have been helping children who have lost parents.
Ashinaga Org
They have been involved in projects all over the world, especially in developing countries. After the Kobe earthquake in 1995 they built Rainbow House, a building with facilities and counselling for children who had lost parents.
They now have a 2 year plan to build a similar Tohoku Rainbow House for children who have lost parents in the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. They have been leading the investigation in the affected areas just to establish how much children may have been affected in this way. The figures are still largely unknown, nearly 2 months after the disaster. One of the most noteworthy aspects of this charity is that more than half of the people who work for them are “graduates” of the charity, having lost parents during childhood themselves.
Funding required: General building costs and ongoing running costs.
Click here for the latest information update.

4. Ishinomaki Sports Recovery Centre
This is an existing charity that was renamed after the earthquake. The charity was set up 10 years ago by Matsumura san, who is referred to in our visit to Ishinomaki report on 21st April. The original charity ran sports camps for less able children and has gone on to organise many other events since the earthquake. Matsumura san’s family are themselves refugees living in a refugee camp so they can understand very directly what problems everyone is facing. You can see a blog (in Japanese) with good photos showing their life since the earthquake.
More info HERE
It is his belief that children will be the key to improving the situation for the future. If the children can enjoy sports camps in the current situation, the positive atmosphere will benefit everyone and they can all be optimistic about their future. He has had a lot of support from professional sportspeople making appearances at the sports camps, and donations for sports equipment. If possible we would also like to facilitate volunteers visiting from overseas so help run the camps.
Funding required: Sports equipment and volunteer costs allowance.
Click here for the latest information update.

5. Oxford based volunteer homestay programme
This programme would be organised in collaboration with Oxford International Exchange, a sponsor of Helping Hands for Japan. It would be principally offered to older children who have been directly affected by the disaster who would be carefully selected by suitable charities including the Ashinaga Foundation. We will be looking for an airline to sponsor the programme so the total costs can be kept to a minimum. We have been discussing what period and the length of stay that would be suitable with the Ashinaga Foundation.
Funding required: Mainly transport costs.

6. Homestays programme for visiting volunteers
This is a plan to coordinate with families near the affected areas who can provide a homestay to volunteers visiting from extended periods from overseas. This would be ideal for Japanese language university students based in the UK who would be due to spend a year in Japan, as part of their course, and may be willing to spend part of that as a volunteer. These volunteers could then help in other programmes such as the Matsumura sports camps. The costs here will be mainly to do with administration in Japan for arranging host families and coordinating with visiting volunteers from overseas. A food allowance to cover the volunteer food costs for the host families may be needed in some cases.
Funding required: Administration costs, food allowance for host families.

7. Philanthropic Tours
These tours would be coordinated with Into Japan Specialist Tours. Helping Hands for Japan supported projects would be included in tours and money raised from the tours both in sponsorship and tour fees would go towards the projects. No funding is needed for this project.
Funding required: None