6.20.2014

South Sudan Emergency Aid: Water Supply Facilities Completed at Refugee Camp

About 38,000 people have evacuated South Sudan, which has been mired in conflict since the end of last year, to the Kakuma refugee camp in neighboring Kenya (as of June 11th, 2014. UNHCR <United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees>).  AAR Japan has been conducting research and providing support at the Kakuma refugee camp since February this year. Resident Staff of AAR Japan South Sudan Office Daijo TSUCHIKAWA, who is engaged in the activities on the ground, reports:

Installing Water Pipe to Deliver Safe Water to the Camp

Because of continued heavy rain, the water tank truck became stuck on the muddy road before reaching the camp. (March 19th, 2014)

6.11.2014

Myanmar: Landmine/UXO action Providing a safe and livable environment - even for persons with disabilities

Myanmar (Burma) is said to be one of the world's most heavily mine-contaminated countries.
In Karen state, which is in a particularly serious situation, Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan) opened its office in Hpa-An, the state capital, in July 2013. Since then, we have been providing support for mine victims and developing teaching materials for landmine risk education.
This report is provided to you by Yoshio NAKAGAWA, from our Hpa-An office.

We have paved roads and reconstructed water tanks in Thit Sar Aye Myaing village in Karen state, Myanmar, where many landmine victims live. At the completion ceremony, residents celebrated in colorful ethnic costumes. Yumiko KAKUDA, one of our staff members, is pictured second from the left in the front row. (April 27, 2014)

6.05.2014

Supporting Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) - Graduates of Vocational Training Schools

Offering vocational training to more than 1,200 PWDs for 15 years

In Myanmar, the superstition still persists among people that PWDs were born the way they were because they were sinful in their former lives. In Burmese, the official language of Myanmar, being handicapped has a connotation of “being unable to do anything”, and people tend to dismiss PWDs as unskilled. This explains why PWDs generally have no choice but to be dependent on their family members. As a matter of fact, family members have little or no interest on how to educate PWDs. In addition to these social and cultural factors in Myanmar, the limited number of social workers and limited budget has resulted in fewer opportunities for PWDs to get involved in their community.
The first batch of graduates singing and dancing at the graduation ceremony. The representative of the class said, “We would like to make the most of the skills we acquired in this school and contribute to the welfare of PWDs in our community.”  (April 9th, 2014)

5.31.2014

Grateful for the continuing support 3 years on - Thank you for your cooperation with the “Heart-Warming Chocolate Delivery Campaign”

Many warm sentiments delivered to Tohoku

In the Heart-Warming Chocolate Delivery Campaign, messages of support from people all over Japan were attached to AAR Japan's charity chocolates and delivered to the areas stricken by the Tohoku Earthquake. From December 2011 to March 2014 (with the campaign running during winter only) we received orders for 6,452 chocolates.

In Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures, staff from AAR's Tohoku office distributed the chocolates by visiting temporary housing units door to door and at events organized by AAR. In this report, we will relay some of the circumstances and messages of thanks from the recipients.
"We're grateful for the support from all over Japan". Chocolates were delivered to 15 people in Konakai Temporary Shelter Complex in Ofunato city. In the front row on the far right is AAR Sendai office's Kazuo ITO (February 10th, 2014)

5.26.2014

Emergency Assistance in South Sudan: Providing children in refugee camps with necessities

As of April 30th, 34,000 people have fled South Sudan amid ongoing warfare and arrived at Kakuma Refugee Camp in the neighboring nation of Kenya. AAR is now providing support for the children in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Ryo KAKUTANI of AAR South Sudan Office reports.

Desks have finally arrived! The children were anxious to start school and helped us carry the desks to the classroom tents. (Far center: Ryo KAKUTANI, May 4th 2014)

5.22.2014

Attending the UN Meeting on Killer Robots

Attending the experts’ meeting in Switzerland

Government representatives from 87 nations, UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and NGOs gathered for the convention. (May 13th, 2014)
Killer robots, or lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), are weapons that autonomously select and attack targets with no human intervention. Although they have not been used in the battlefield, it is estimated that the technology could be developed in 10-20 years. AAR Japan engages in a steering committee of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, an international civil society network launched in April 2013 which aims to pre-emptively ban fully autonomous weapons.

From 13th to 16th of May 2014, informal meeting of experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) took place at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the first-ever multinational discussion on restricting killer robots. This meeting holds a major significance for work towards imposing restrictions on killer robots by CCW. As a member of Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, AAR sent its President, Yukie OSA, and Natsuki MATSUMOTO from AAR Tokyo office to the meeting.

5.14.2014

Sudan: The Japanese Ambassador visits the Mine Risk Education Project Site

MRE sessions conducted using the original education materials (November 22nd, 2013, Kassala) 
In Sudan, countless landmines were buried during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). There are more than 1,900 victims of landmines and unexploded ordinances (UXOs) in the country, and even after the end of war in 2005, 651 cases of new victims by landmines and UXOs have been reported (as of Mach 2014, Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA)). In addition, the conflict has reignited in southern regions of Blue Nile state and South Kordofan state in 2011, raising the risk ever higher of an increase in causalities from UXOs. Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) develops its original education materials such as posters, flip chart story, and songs and goes around villages to conduct educational sessions about landmines for local residents. Since its start in 2006, approximately 100,000 people have attended the MRE sessions.

In 24th March, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Sudan, Ryoichi HORIE, visited our project site in Kassala state, Eastern Sudan where AAR conducts the mine risk education (MRE) project. For this occasion, AAR Japan, together with local residents, organized an event to introduce the MRE program to the Ambassador. Takashi UJIKAWA of Sudan Office reports.