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 of Tohoku exchanged opinions with counselors of the Reconstruction Agency “Children-Led Clubs Leader Tour 2015” Vol.2

On August 3, 2015, the children of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures handed the proposal to the Minister of Reconstruction, and shared their opinions with the counselors from the Agency as a part of “Children-Led Clubs Leader Tour 2015.” In this report, you will see how their messages were delivered to the Reconstruction Agency.

 

 

■Recovery Efforts over the Last Four Years: Changes Brought to the Members and the Community■

At first, the members of the Children’s Community Building Clubs reported their past activities since the launch of the clubs back on June/July 2011 and what changes they brought to the members and the community.

 

Yamada-town, Iwate Prefecture:

Members talked about “Matsushii,” the character which they designed to help revitalization of the community, “Yamada Karuta” Japanese playing cards which they developed through close collaboration with the community, and the Yamada Children’s Communication Center (tentative name) which they newly designed and developed. “I came to like communicating with people after mingling with various people in various ages. It actually improved my grade as well!” “Yamada Karuta was distributed to schools and libraries. I believe it served as a great tool for the community members to find Yamada-town’s attractiveness like it did to us.” “Constantly thinking about the recovery grew my wish for rapid recovery of our community. My love for Yamada grew so did my desire to participate in the recovery process.” Members reported positive consequence of the activities.

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Rikuzentakata-city, Iwate Prefecture:

Members reported their achievement, “Mini Tree of Light” which they created as a symbol of recovery, “Susume Takatatto! Machi Photo Project” in which they use pictures to show the current situation of Takata, “Susume Takatakko” Machi Talk Project” through which they exchange opinions with policy makers, and their effort to have their opinion reflected in the reconstruction process of the city library. Members said, “we were able to build stronger bond with the community members through briefing session and community events.” “I now know joy and fun of sharing opinions. I also learned opinions of adults.” “Now that I became interested in designing community, I want to keep working with the community members.”

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Ishinomaki-city, Miyagi Prefecture:

Members presented their achievement; “Raitsu,” children’s center which they developed and designed, map of the shopping street that they created, and the survey which they are currently conducting to understand the recovery process of the community, then reported the changes: “Seeing our “Dream Town Plan” put into practice taught me that even children can make something for the community with the help from adults. It gave me confidence and motivation.” “I learned a lot about the shopping street which I didn’t know much about. Now, I stop by at the stores on the street to buy something on my way to the club. We started to receive offers from the volunteers who want to distribute maps at events.” “Since lots of people still don’t know the progress of the recovery, I want to make the information available in a form that is simple and easy to understand so that more people become interested in the community and its recovery.”

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After the presentations from the club members, counselors of the Unit for Collaboration with Private Sector for Reconstruction and the Unit for General Policy commented as follows: “your presentation was full of surprises. You have developed specific ideas, made them happen, reported to the community and have just presented to the government today in such a confident manner. That’s just impressive. “In this difficult situation that Japan is currently facing, how the community can keep making effort is the key not just to the recovery, but to everything. Your activities may not seem big, but such efforts do enhance our future.”

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■Questions from the Members to the Counselors■

After receiving such encouraging feedback, it was members’ time to ask questions that they have prepared.

First questions were, “what does recovery mean to you? When do you say that recovery is done?” and “how much progress do you think Tohoku can make by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020?” In response, the counselors said, “recovery is not just restoring things to their original condition. Some things can be restored fully, but others can’t be. We, not only the government but also the Prefecture, city and town, and each of us, need to think about what we can do and act on it. You all are ahead of us and have been already doing that.”

Then, the members posed further question, “what is your concern for us as children getting involved in recovery?” The response from the counselor was, “your presentations really shocked me. I absolutely have no concerns regarding children’s involvement. One thing that I do worry is actually the low recognition of your achievement. I want more and more people to know about what you have done and what you are capable of. We all need to start with realizing that your achievements are unknown to most people”

 

 

Road to Recovery, Children and Adults United!

After handed their proposal to the Minister for Reconstruction and shared their opinions with the counselors, the children seemed to have enhanced their motivation with new findings and knowledge. Among their comments are, “listening to the Minister let me know that we are on his mind.” (Male, 5th Grader) “I was happy to learn that our voices are heard and that they are working on implementing them” (Female, 8th Grader) “I re-realized that recovery is not just restoring but also providing with something extra. I want to be that “extra!” (Male, High School Sophomore) “It surprised me when I heard that adults don’t really know what to do with the children. We definitely need to voluntarily take action.” (Female, High School Junior)

 

 

Children of Tohoku will keep moving forward while working closely with the community. Your support is very much appreciated!