寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

Children from Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures participated in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (2015.4.7)

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) was held in Sendai from March 14 to 18. The representatives of the children in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures participated in the conference and delivered the voices of the children who experienced 3.11. Let’s find out what happened in the preparatory workshop and the first day of the conference.

■March 12: Orientation in Ishinomaki Children’s Center■

At the third workshop on “Our message on global disaster risk reduction” held at the end of last year, the participants from Tohoku region elected three child representatives. On March 12, they attended a press conference and from then on, they were busy working with the children from Indonesia, Mongolia and Peru, who represented the global network, “Children in Changing Climate,” which Save the Children also takes part in.

Together with the children from overseas, our representatives participated in an orientation held in the Ishinomaki Children’s Center on March 12. After introducing each other, the children developed rules among themselves and went over the summary of the conference. While having a hard time using English in the workshop, with the help of interpreters and books written in Indonesian or Mongolian, our representatives gradually started understanding the children from overseas and in making themselves understood. Then, they all went on a tour to see the disaster-stricken area in Kadowaki district, where the representative from Miyagi Prefecture reported on what had happened and what it was like on the day of 3.11.

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■March 13: Sharing the experience of the disaster and their efforts on disaster risk reduction with each other■

An all day workshop was held on March 13 in Sendai. First, they all went through the rules that they had developed the day before, such as “to respect each other’s opinions,” “to learn from each other,” and “to be active.” Those rules stemmed from the fact that they had been working as a team.

Next, they shared their personal stories of the disaster and their efforts on disaster risk reduction. After making a summary of them on paper with drawings, charts and timelines, everyone took turns making a speech. “I got to hear the representatives from Indonesia and Mongolia talking about various disasters like drought or floods, how they affected their lives, and what they had learned from their experiences. We don’t speak the same language, but we were able to communicate with our hearts,” said one of our representatives.

Another representative who shared his story of 3.11 told us, “Talking about my experience made me realize that I still remember the disaster as if it were yesterday. So, talking about it gave me an opportunity to reflect on what has happened. I was not able to share my stories before as I was too scared to learn how it may change other people’s perception of me, or how it may affect me negatively; however, I find myself feeling like I no longer carry a weight on my shoulders after having shared my experience.”

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 March 14: Opening ceremony of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and its working group■

The Third UN WCDRR began on March 14 with approximately 156,000 participants, from all over the world. Among them were interested parties from international organizations and NGOs, as the international action plan on disaster risk reduction was going to be developed on the last day of the conference.

Our representatives wore their IDs around their necks and attended the opening ceremony. They appeared to be a little tense owing to the notion of being there on behalf of all the children in the world. In the working group on school safety held that afternoon, one of the representatives said, “I heard many stories from children from various countries, and they made me realize how safe and important school is. Thus, I thought it is important for us, as children who do go to school every day, to think what we can do.”

Right after the opening ceremony, the children worked on creating a video message on “What if I were a UN Secretary-General,” before attending the working group. The video aims to deliver the voices of the children to policy makers and have them reflected. “I finally could put my opinions together.  I had ideas that were vague, but they became clear through the process of creating this video message. It was good to take time to focus on it and think deeper. Also, it reminded me how much of a big deal the accident at the nuclear power plant was,” one of the representatives told us.

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In the next report, you will see how the children did and how they matured through the conference. Please check it out!