Japan: Delivering Flowers and Music to Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

The Colors and Aromas of a Rainbow of Flowers, to Welcome Mother’s Day

As part of the ongoing recovery activities in the earthquake-hit Tohoku region, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) is carrying out a campaign called ‘Delivering Flowers and Magokoro (literally meaning “true heart”) to the Disaster-Affected Areas’. Supporters from all over Japan have welcomed the idea to deliver flowers to the desolate disaster areas from which the tsunami has taken everything. On May 13th, 2012, we visited the social welfare facility ‘Oguni no Sato’ in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.  ‘Oguni no Sato’ is a temporary housing complex for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and their families who have been hit by the disaster. We delivered flower seedlings along with messages of support from all over Japan to the 50 families living there.
May 13th, 2012 - The flowers delivered to the disaster area were purchased at ‘Flower Shop Hanayu’. After the original building was destroyed by the tsunami, this florist shop is now part of a temporary shopping village in Onagawa Town. The store’s owners are husband and wife Mr. Yukio SUZUKI and Mrs. Michiko SUZUKI, shown here with local children. Right: AAR Japan staff Miyo ITO (Onagawa Town, Oshika County, Miyagi Prefecture)


Haiti: Training for Special Needs Teachers

Providing Quality Education to Children with Disabilities

AAR Japan has been implementing recovery operations in Haiti, which was rocked by a massive earthquake in January of 2010. In the capital of Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas, numerous facilities for persons with disabilities and schools for children with disabilities had to suspend operations after suffering extensive damage. More than two years have passed since the quake, and still a large number of institutions have been unable to resume operations.
AAR Japan has been assisting in the reconstruction of more than 10 institutions, including facilities for persons with disabilities, schools for children with disabilities, and orphanages. Since January 2012, AAR Japan has been working to rebuild École Jerry Mousse, a school for children with psychological and intellectual disabilities, providing tables, chairs, a generator and other necessary equipment. The surviving facilities have also been used to conduct skills training for teachers, aiming to enhance their ability to create a supportive and enlightening educational experience that will bring out the most in their students.

March 10th, 2012 – “Let’s draw a circle. What color can we get by mixing red and blue?” In a practical skills session, participants experiment with methods of teaching art and conveying color concepts.


Japan: Seasonal Events for Victims in Fukushima Prefecture

In the disaster affected areas, there are many people who are struggling physically or are feeling much stress from having to live in temporary housing for so long. When AAR Japan’s staff visited temporary housing complexes in Sukagawa City in Fukushima Prefecture, the president of the residents’ association came to us and asked, “Do you think we can organize something that’ll be enjoyable for everyone, that’ll just lift everyone’s spirits?” After some planning, we decided to hold Japanese traditional and seasonal festivals such as “Hanami (cherry blossom viewing)” and “Koinobori (carp streamers)”

CHORUS in the Bus while Cherry Blossom Viewing

On April 15th and 22nd, we organized an event that we called “Singing Bus Tour.” The plan was to go around the city of Sukagawa with its residents on a bus rented out from the social welfare committee. The bus went around to all the cherry blossom viewing sites in Sukugawa, while the passengers continued to sing in a chorus while on route.  
Many people living in temporary housing participated in the tour: 35 on the 15th, and 30 people on the 22nd. An electric keyboard was set up inside the bus, and the pianist Tomoko YAMAZAKI was there to play popular songs and nursery rhymes for us to sing along to.


Japan: We are Delivering Flowers and Cordiality to People in the Disaster-affected Areas

We are Receiving Messages of Support from around the Country, One after Another
Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) has been carrying out the “Delivering Flowers and Magokoro (literally meaning “true heart”) to the Disaster-Affected Areas Campaign” as one of the recovery activities in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake. The same scenery that one saw right after the earthquake can be still seen in the disaster-affected areas even though more than one year has passed. There are quite a few places that have lost colorfulness because flowers were swept away by the tsunami. The campaign was initiated with the goal to provide flowers to people in such areas, along with messages of support to help them regain their spirit as much as possible, and we have been receiving donations and messages from supporters all over Japan. AAR Japan visited the devastated areas in Fukushima and Iwate Prefectures to deliver flowers with the contributions we received from April 11th, when the campaign was launched, until April 30th. The flowers were bought at a local florist as well as a social welfare facility for persons with disabilities located in the disaster areas.

April 27th, 2012 – Messages from various regions such as Osaka, Kyoto, Chiba, and Saitama Prefectures were sent to the disaster-affected areas. (Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture)