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

Thirty-Seven Children from Three Regions Go to Kobe! Children’s Community Building Leaders’ Tour (August 2, 2013)

“Speaking Out From Tohoku ~ Building Better Communities through the Participation of Children” is a community building program that strives for the reconstruction of communities. As part of this program, the “Children’s Community Building Leaders’ Tour 2013” was conducted in Kobe City of Hyogo Prefecture, from July 27 to 30, 2013. A total of 37 members from the Children’s Community Building Clubs in Yamada Town and Rikuzentakata City of Iwate Prefecture, and Ishinomaki City of Miyagi Prefecture learned how people in Kobe have been working towards its recovery from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995.

 




 
■ Day 1: Members of three Children’s Community Building Clubs gather for the first time in three months! ■

The program started with an orientation. The members from each region had prepared for the tour in advance, and now together they first confirmed the purpose of this year’s Children’s Community Building Leaders’ Tour. In the Bingo-style self-introduction game, all the members from each region shared their thoughts on the reconstruction of their own communities. They actively asked questions, such as, “What do you most want to learn in Kobe?” and, “What do you most want to say from Tohoku?” It was an opportunity for them to communicate with the members from other regions that they had not met since the 4th Children’s Community Building Clubs of Tohoku Summit in May, 2013. Comments included, “I took efforts to communicate with members from other regions,” and, “It was fun to talk a lot with those I had never met or spoken with.”

After the orientation, all the members visited the Takatori Community Center to hear stories about the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Immediately after the earthquake, the center acted as a rescue base, and now it is a place where many people from NPOs, churches and the wider community get together. At this venue members commented, “I want to promote each process of reconstruction, considering if it is really a necessary step for the future,” and, “I learned that they continuously try to have sufficient opportunities for people in the community to get together. If we do the same in Ishinomaki, I think we can also connect people with one another.”




 
■ Day 2-3: Observe, listen and study the approaches that Kobe took to recover from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake! ■
 
On Day 2 and 3, the members did fieldwork in the towns of Kobe to learn about the approaches taken by local organizations in their reconstruction efforts. Each Children’s Community Building Club selected a place where they thought they could learn something they could utilize for the future reconstruction of their own communities. At each place they visited, the members first introduced themselves and explained their previous activities. Then they listened to the stories from the organization they were visiting, asked questions they had prepared in advance and exchanged opinions with the people there. Some comments from members were:
“I received some hints and advice on how we could use Matsushii, a character of Yamada, and how we can energize our town.”
“While other locations are also astonishing, I think we can promptly utilize the ideas of Futatabi Park for our community.”
“I thought the most important thing for the Children’s Community Building Clubs at this moment is to work together with people in our shopping streets.”
“I learned so many things. At the radio station FMYY, I learned to broadcast information that local people would need. At KIITO [Design and Creative Center Kobe], I learned not to try to be too perfect, and that we need to discuss with people in the community. At the shopping street in front of Nagata Shrine, I learned to sell things that people need or want to have, as well as to value communication.”
As we have heard above, it seems that the members learned a great deal, and took away many insights that they can utilize in their future activities.

 



 
Yamada and Ishinomaki members at Machi-Communication

 


 
Rikuzentakata members at FMYY

 


 
 
■Day 4: The Children’s Community Building Clubs share with each other what they have learned in Kobe ■
 
On Day 4, the members from the three clubs shared what they had discovered, learned and gained through their fieldwork. Using the methods of ‘World Cafe’ and ‘Cube Talk’, and the themes of “Where did you go and what did you realize?” and, “How do you want to utilize what you have learned for the reconstruction of your community?” the children freely exchanged their opinions about what they had experienced over the previous three days. Some of the members remarked:
“I have gained ideas from various people.”
“I could clearly see where the members of other regions went and what they had done there.”
“I was able to say to everyone my ideas to apply what I have learned.”
By learning what members from other regions have discovered through their fieldwork, the children were able to expand their ideas for future activities in their own communities.

 



 

After completing the four-day tour, the members commented:
“Even though they had suffered from the earthquake, everyone looked fine and told us a story of what had happened in those days. So I want to utilize what I heard for our own reconstruction.”
“This tour was the most fulfilling among the past tours. It was helpful to hear from those who had actually experienced the earthquake, so I want to gradually apply my learning for the revitalization of my community.”
“I want to share many things that I heard on this tour with the people of my community!”
“There are things that I haven’t achieved yet, and those that I want to achieve.”
The members returned to their communities bringing new ideas and thoughts on future activities for their local reconstruction efforts.

 
■ “I was able to hear many opinions over four days!” They enjoyed fruitful activities in Kobe ■

In this Children’s Community Building Leaders’ Tour, they focused on fieldwork. Members learned about activities conducted by those organizations involved in the reconstruction of Kobe. When preparing for the fieldwork in each region, members said:
“I want to further enhance our ideas, and learn about the efforts made [in Kobe] towards the revitalization of their community!”
“I want to learn about both successful and unsuccessful stories, and share them with the people of our shopping streets!”
“By witnessing and recognizing how far they have progressed in their reconstruction efforts over the past 18 years, I can start to imagine how our town of Yamada will be like in the future.”

 
■ “I want to keep taking part in reconstruction as much as possible.” Speaking Out From Tohoku towards the reconstruction of the community! ■

In the questionnaire that the members filled out on the final day of the tour, all 37 members answered that they want to get more involved in the reconstruction and building of their communities. Among them, some said, “I have had a similar experience, so I want to tell them what they should do in certain circumstances,” and, “I have been working with KYT [Keppare Yamada Toekomst] for two years, but further, I want to share what I learned in Kobe with people in Yamada and friends in my school.” Over the four days of the tour, it seems that they have also learned about the attitudes that will allow them to continue their activities. They made comments such as:
“I want to take an active role instead of relying on someone else.”
“It is not good to only keep counting on other people.”
“We should not give up before trying. We should not be afraid of speaking out, even though our opinions are sometimes disregarded.”

 
~ Comments from participating members ~

・“I learned that we can take various approaches towards reconstruction.” (Yamada, junior high school student, female)

・“I learned about ways to improve the level of recognition among people. I also received some advice regarding events and the creation of goods. Someone also said, “We should not give up before trying, as you will never know the results before trying.” I think I can utilize such advice through the whole process of our activities. Also, I found that such advice would be useful not only in our particular activities at KYT, but also in our daily life.” (Yamada, senior high school student, female)

・“I realized that they have also have taken various preventative measures in case of future disasters in Kobe.” (Rikuzentakata, elementary school student, female)

・“I was happy to hear that people from Kobe say it is important to have the participation of young people and that it is necessary to have reconstruction that considers the future in 10 and 20 years. I also could see the things that were created from children’s opinions!” (Rikuzentakata, senior high school student, female)

・“When something needs to be done, the most important thing is to take action.” (Rikuzentakata, senior high school student, male)

・“In the towns of Kobe, everybody was actively trying to energize everywhere: In the shopping streets, KIITO and at Machi-Communication. I want to utilize this knowledge when I return to Miyagi.” (Ishinomaki, junior high school student, female)

・“The fieldwork was great. I think it is better to see things with our own eyes rather than just reading documents!” (Ishinomaki, senior high school student, male)

・“It is important that everybody stands up for the revitalization of towns instead of totally counting on the government! It is also crucial to have good communication and connection with others in the community. We should revitalize Ishinomaki, valuing what we have now!” (Ishinomaki, senior high school student, female)

Already since returning to their hometowns, the members of the Children’s Community Building Clubs have been working in each region to apply what they have learned towards the reconstruction of their communities. Soon we will share with you concrete examples of what they learned in Kobe, and how they are trying to utilize this in their activities. Please look forward to our next report on the members’ activities from each region.