Funds Raised by JETAA for the Japan Great East Earthquake on 3/11/11

Info about where JETAA funds went in response to the 3/11/11 Japan Great East Earthquake. Here is some recent news we received from JETAA USA:

Our funds continue to make a positive impact on the recovery in
Tohoku. Jim Gannon recently had lunch with Fukiko Ishi, who manages
Kodomo no Empowerment, the tutoring project that is being run with our
funds. It has been an even bigger success than we realized. With our
funding, the number of middle school students taking the English
competency test tripled this year, which was extraordinary enough to
merit media attention. Read the article on JETwit.com:
http://jetwit.com/wordpress/2012/01/20/article-students-in-rikuzentakata-take-the-eiken-in-memory-of-monty/

It is incredible that almost a year has passed since the disaster.
The upcoming one year anniversary provides a great opportunity for
another fundraising push. Our funds continue to touch the lives of
those affected by the disaster in small but real ways. With
additional fundraising, we could support projects such as outfitting
schools with books and equipment, or hiring an additional JET to work
in Rikuzentakata.

To recap the fund committee’s decision, here is where we are allocating the funds raised to date:

1. Hope for Tomorrow – $25,000 (website: http://hope-tomorrow.jp/ >> needs English translation!)

A major challenge that high school students from the Tohoku region will face is to keep from falling behind students from elsewhere in the country who are studying for their college entrance exams. The students in Tohoku graduating this March had completed their exams by the time of the earthquake, but the ones who will graduate next year are liable to fall behind due to the length of time schools have been shut down, the absence of cram schools and other supplementary educational activities during their senior year, and the trauma and family tragedies that many have to face. On top of this, they need sufficient resources to even take the university exams, which tend to require travel to Tokyo, Sendai or Hokkaido. The exam fees are likely to be waived for many students, but there is no system to support their personal travel, lodging, meals, etc. when they leave their hometowns to take the entrance exams. In many cases, these expenses can easily exceed US$1,000, which will be difficult for families who have lost their homes and businesses to muster.

In response, a group of Tokyo volunteers has launched a new NPO called “Hope for Tomorrow” that plans to help support students by covering these expenses. They have been in touch with the main high schools in Kessennuma and Ishinomaki about this initiative. Kessennnuma had the greatest need, so they have come to an agreement with the high school to start supporting their students, and they hope to expand to other schools, including Ishinomaki’s high school. They are also interested in expanding to Rikuzentakata and open to other suggestions from us about other places. (In May, they tried to speak with the Rikuzentakata authorities as well as those in the neighboring town, Ofunato, where students were attending high school since Rikuzentakata’s high school was badly damaged, but were unable to have discussions due to the overwhelming challenges school officials were facing. However, they hope to try again soon.) In addition to the helping with the exam fees, they also wish to provide mentoring services to the students and other support that can aid them before and after their exams.

2. E.Pa+Ch – $25,000 (website: http://soup1993.com/epatch.html >> needs English translation!)
E.Pa+Ch stands for Empowerment (of youth) through Participation and Challenge. This group was created by a professor at Iwate Prefectural University (IPU) who has been active in mobilizing college volunteers to work in the disaster zone through a project called “GingaNet.” At the request of the Ministry of Education, the group is planning to launch a major initiative throughout the prefecture to provide tutoring to and study rooms for middle school students who have fallen behind in their studies, with IPU students acting as volunteer tutors. (This may be expanded to high school students taking university entrance exams, in which case professional juku teachers will need to be employed). The board of education expressed support for this, and the IPU professor, Yamamoto-sensei, is going to continue developing the program in consultation with the board. This innovative program was launched on Nov 1, and it possibly will be a model for other programs around Tohoku. CR Jess Wilcox and Fund Committee member Jim Gannon were interviewed regarding our involvement. Read the article here: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T111104005277.htm

3. Rikuzentakata Board of Education – $10,000

This direct contribution to the BoE will help alleviate some immediate needs of the schools, possibly including the hiring of a second JET for the area. There is currently a JET in RT who replaced Monty Dickson and the BoE would like to hire a second.

4. Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund – $5,000 (website: http://www.st.catherines.org/tayloranderson )

Many of you are already familiar with the work that the Anderson Family has been conducting. We have made a $5,000 donation to their fund to demonstrate our collective support.

5. Grants for 2-3 JET-related orgs – $10,000+ (To Be Finalized)

We are working with Paul Yoo of Volunteer Akita and Living Dreams who worked with Mike Maher King (Smile Kids Japan). Our grants will help support their grass roots efforts of volunteering in the area, bringing in needed supplies, and ‘filling in the cracks’ where other NGO’s are unable to assist.

TOTAL = $75,000+

GOOD WORK EVERYONE…and from now still: GANBARIMASHOU!!

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