December 10th, 2011 – Group photo with members of “AEON 1% Club” who contributed to the AAR JAPAN “Building Healthy Communities” project (Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture)
Disaster survivors end up all too easily spending their days isolated behind closed doors. This is why AAR JAPAN’s “Building Healthy Community” project seeks to create opportunities for people to go out and interact. The project promotes networking events such as massage sessions or soup kitchens in the affected regions.
On December 12th, 2011, one of these “Building Healthy Community” events was held on a bypass construction site in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, where 500 people currently live in temporary housing. In addition to massages, recreational gymnastics classes and distribution of clothing for free, the kitchen team served “Imo-ni” (a regional soup specialty, made with beef, taro and vegetables in season) and “Miso Dengaku” (a konjac jelly snack served hot with bean paste dressing). This event was made possible thanks to the participation on site of 20 AEON scholarship students and “AEON 1% Club” staff members.
Residents of the temporary housing facility formed a long queue in front of the booth where winter clothes were given out for free. AEON scholarship student Ran Jianling (left) offers advice on coats.
Food for takeout: “Let me get this for my neighbors, I haven’t seen them in a while.”
One appointment followed the other at the massage room. By the window, a group of people shortening their wait time with a chat.
Endless row of makeshift houses: The team walked around the temporary housing facility and delivered soup kitchen food to those who could not make it to the venue.
AAR JAPAN staff Shuji Omatsu (left) talks to the overseas students about the height of the tsunami on the day of the disaster. In the background, ruins of a building hit by the tsunami.
At the disaster site of Onagawa (Miyagi Prefecture): the team offered flowers and incense in memory of the tsunami victims.
Miyo ITO, AAR JAPAN Public Relations Team, Tokyo