Afghanistan: Enabling Children with Disabilities to Go to School

Providing activities to deepen people’s understanding of disabilities together with improvements of various school facilities

In Afghanistan, which has been suffering continuous conflicts for years, there are a lot of people living with disabilities due to damage caused by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXOs). AAR has been spreading the knowledge on how to protect themselves from landmines and UXOs to villagers and school children, while providing support to victims and persons with disabilities.

AAR has installed ramps and constructed accessible lavatories to make it easier for children with disabilities to attend school in Khwowaja Sayaran Public School and Sediqi Public School in Parwan Prefecture.

Nangaray (19), who is visually impaired, is delighted with the newly-installed ramp, which made it much easier for to come to school. With Tamin (right), AAR’s local staff member (September 11th, 2014)


Uganda: Helping Landmine Victims Become Self-Reliant

In Uganda, located in Central Africa, there is still a massive amount of remaining landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) as a result of the 40 year civil war. AAR Japan has assisted landmine victims since 2009 in cooperation with the Uganda Landmine Survivors Association (ULSA). Today, in Yumbe District in North Uganda, where there remains a serious issue of mine pollution, we offer assistance to 25 victims to start high-demand businesses such as general stores and beekeeping. We also provide them with guidance about business management. The following is the report from Margaret Arach ORECH, the Director of ULSA.

Supporting small businesses of landmine and UXO victims

Ms. Amina CHADIRU (age 35) stepped on a landmine and lost her left leg when she went to collect edible termites in July, 1997. After the accident, she was unable to have a stable job and did not have enough income to support herself. However, since she has started selling secondhand clothes with the support from AAR and ULSA , her income has increased. “My store has become well known in this area and now, I am able to send my six kids to school”, she said with delight.

Ms. CHADIRU lost her left leg in a landmine accident. A bicycle and old clothes were provided to her to start a business (May 13th, 2014).


Emergency Assistance for Syrian Refugees: AAR Japan begins the distribution of food and other essential items

From the west, Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), Suruc, Sanliurfa where AAR Japan is conducting the survey, and Viransehir.

Since The Islamic State (IS) began its military campaign against Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), Northern Syria, on September 19, more than 188,000 Syrians have crossed the border and fled to South-Eastern Turkey (UN, 14.10.2014). The humanitarian aid effort by the Turkish government and the international community has not been able to keep up with the drastic increase in the number of refugees. AAR Japan is distributing food and basic daily necessities in Suruc District, Sanliurfa Province where there is a refugee population. Hiroko NAITO of AAR Japan reports on their relief efforts.


Emergency Assistance for Syrian Refugees: Relief Items Distributed to 400 Families

Since the Islamic State (IS) began its military campaign against Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish) in Northern Syria, 200,000 people have crossed the border to flee to Turkey, according to a report published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on October 24th, 2014. On November 12th, AAR Japan distributed basic daily necessities in the Suruc District of Sanliurfa Province, where a large number of refugees have sought shelter.

Life in Refugee Camps

AAR Japan delivered relief items to refugees who have been placed in a camp set up by the government in the Suruc District, Sanliurfa Province. The refugees receive food several times a day at this camp. However, those who have just arrived have few living necessities. They were very grateful to receive hygiene supplies and kitchen wares for their immediate use.

A truck was parked outside the camp in preparation for the distribution of relief items. Left: Yuichiro YAMAMOTO of AAR Japan


Laos: Supporting the Self-Sufficiency of Persons with Disabilities through Catfish Culture

Starting a small scale business in back yards

It is generally and universally challenging for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to have a job, earn his/her own income, and be able to live independently. Laos is no exception. In order to change such a condition, AAR Japan, in cooperation with Laos Disabled People’s Association (LDPA), is supporting PWDs in starting their own small businesses. Since July of 2014, we started a project to support PWDs with limited opportunities in getting a job, especially those in rural areas. The project provides assistance in starting small-scale business such as mushroom growing, sewing, and catfish culture that PWDs can engage at home or nearby. This report is on the catfish culture.

Why catfish?

In Laos, catfish is a very common food. Its market is less competitive in comparison to rice and meat, and the fish can be sold directly to the neighbors. It involves less labor, and is relatively easy for PWDs to start on. However, it is crucial that each participant has a strong motivation and commitment in order to succeed. Therefore, we asked each participant to bear a part of the start-up cost (equivalent of 2,000 Japanese yen) in the project, so that they have a strong motivation to continue their businesses.

Catfish fry, which was 8 cm, has grown more than double the length to 18 cm after a month (Above photo taken on September 4th, 2014. The below was taken on October 2nd, 2014)


Emergency Assistance for Syrian Refugees: Surveying the situation in Suruc District, South-Eastern Turkey

On September 19, the Islamic State began its attack on Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) in Northern Syria after having self-proclaimed the establishment of a caliphate and unrecognized state spanning across Iraq and Syria. In the time since, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that more than 170,000 Syrians have fled across the Turkish border and escaped into South Eastern Turkey.  Ms. Hiroko NAITO of AAR Japan, who has been conducting surveys of the refugees’ situation on the ground, provides this report. 

From west to east: Ayn al-Arab (also known as “Kobane” in Kurdish), Suruc, Sanliurfa and Viransehir

Sounds of bomber aircraft flying overhead are heard in the shelter

On October 15, AAR Japan conducted a survey in cooperation with Support to Life (STL), a Turkish partner organization. The sound of bomber aircraft flying overhead could be heard from time to time and, in the distance on the other side of the border, black smoke, which was likely to be the result of airstrikes carried out by the same aircraft, could be seen.

Smoke, presumably from airstrikes, rises near the Turkish-Syrian border. (October 15th, 2014)


Emergency Assistance to Syrian Refugees: Growing Numbers of Refugee Families Still Have Nowhere to Stay

Since The Islamic State (IS) began its military campaign against Ayn al-Arab (Kobane in Kurdish), Northern Syria, more than 200,000 Syrians have crossed the border and fled to south-eastern Turkey in a month (UNOCHA, October 24th, 2014). Suruc County in the Sanliurfa Province, Turkey is an area, which has had a refugee influx AAR Japan has been conducting survey for families, who are taking shelters outside refugee camps and distributing food and basic necessities in this area. Yuichiro Yamamoto, AAR Japan staff member currently carrying out on-site activities in Turkey, has filed this report on newly-arrived displaced Syrians.

Relief Goods not Reaching Those who Take Shelter outside Refugee Camps

Many of the displaced people are taking shelter in abandoned buildings or warehouses with several other families. The floor is either bare ground or concrete slabs. The families cover the floor with blankets and sleep, but chilly winds and rain blow in through drafty walls and leaky roofs. The situation is dire for many families as relief goods have not yet reached most of them. Without any aid, some dig into their savings to get by, while others receive food and water from local Turks. In response, AAR Japan has distributed food and basic necessities to 50 families with the cooperation of Support to Life (STL), a local partner organization. AAR is now conducting survey on demographics and whereabouts of refugee families to prepare for the next distribution.

Yuichiro Yamamoto (left) is interviewing the Borohs who crossed border from Kobane to Suruc County in Turkey (November 6th, 2014).