Japan: Supporting Disaster Survivors in Temporary Housing Complexes Create Vegetable Gardens

Growing Vegetables as an Opportunity for Community Interaction

Before the disaster, many of those living in temporary housing complexes along the shoreline of Miyagi Prefecture used to grow vegetables on their farms or in their home gardens. However, their lands and gardens were washed away in the tsunami, making it difficult for them to secure land and restart their farmwork. They used to be physically active through their daily farmwork, but many of them are now suffering from lack of exercise since the disaster. With the added stress of having to cope with their prolonged lives in the temporary housing complexes, some are starting to show signs of hikikomori (social withdrawal).

In such situation, activities that involve plowing vacant plots of land and growing vegetables are becoming popular in disaster-affected areas among the survivors in the effort to regain their original lives and to solve the problem of lack of exercise. AAR Japan is currently supporting survivors by preparing pieces of land that can be used as vegetable gardens as well as providing farming tools. By working cooperatively on their new gardens, people have naturally begun to converse with each other more and show smiles.

Onagawa Town, Miyagi Prefecture: “We are Happy to be able to Eat What We Made on Our Own”

May 24th, 2012 – Around 3pm, the residents gather around a table by the garden and take a rest as “ochakko”. “Ochakko” is a tradition in the Tohoku region in which people chat and drink tea together. Following the earthquake, there has not been a place where people could casually gather and chat like so. (“Fureai Noen”, Onagawa Town, Miyagi Prefecture)


Laos: Start of a New Project! We will Support Income Expansion of Persons with Disabilities through Mushroom Cultivation

Aiming to Improve the Living Environment of Persons with Disabilities  
AAR Japan started a new project in the capital city of Vientiane in March 2012. In this new project, we have been cooperating with Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA) with the mission of improving the living environment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) by increasing their accessibility, and supporting their small-scale businesses for income expansion.

June 28th, 2012 – Staff members of the AAR Japan Vientiane office that spearheads the new project in Laos (On the left is Noriyasu OKAYAMA and third from the left is Yumeka OTA)


Tajikistan: Production of Wheelchairs at Wheelchair Workshop “Dilshod” is Completed! Distribution has Started.

Manufacturing Wheelchairs that Suit Each User’s Disability and Living Environment

In order to promote social participation among persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Tajikistan by increasing their access to wheelchairs, AAR Japan has been supporting the one and only wheelchair workshop in the country, “Dilshod”, since October 2011.
AAR Japan sent Mr. Hiroyuki MINAMI, a wheelchair expert who is capable of single-handedly managing everything from design to production of wheelchairs, on 3 different occasions to Tajikistan. With his cooperation, we have taught staff members at Dilshod how to properly conduct preliminary research on those who wish to have wheelchairs, and also provided hands-on-training on practical wheelchair production techniques. Up until now, Dilshod had not taken into consideration the physical conditions of the users nor their living environment when producing wheelchairs. However, now under Mr. MINAMI’s guidance, Dilshod has begun to incorporate innovative ideas such as designing wheelchairs that are resistant to vibration so that users could move smoothly on unpaved roads, or flattening the edges of the wheelchairs where there is direct body contact and adding cushions, so that the users do not feel fatigue or pain even after being seated for long hours.

June 13th, 2012 – Staff members of Dilshod intently watch wheelchair expert Mr. Hiroyuki MINAMI’s work (left row center) (pictured in the far back in the right row is Noriko ANDO of AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters office.)