Recently the Japan Society announced the recipients of the second round of funding from the Society’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund (JERF). The non-profit organization established the relief fund in the wake of the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, worst natural disaster to strike Japan in 140 years.
At the end of March the Japan Society earmarked a total of $1 million dollars to be distributed among four NGOs strategic to Japan’s relief and recovery effort. With this round, the Japan Society chose six organizations to receive $2.1 million.
“As we announced earlier, Japan Society has made it a priority to support NGOs and other organizations that focus on healthcare, including mental health services, as well as the needs of children,” Japan Society President Motoatsu Sakurai said.
In addition to providing healthcare for those most in need – including the elderly, ill, disabled and pregnant – programs and services range from long-term support for local physicians to creating mental health clinics serving those suffering from post-traumatic or pre-existing conditions. Additionally, organizations are concentrating on providing for children from Fukushima Prefecture by establishing summer camp programs.
Let’s meet the six recipients of the funding.
- AFS Intercultural Programs Japan is a non-profit international exchange organization for students and adults. AFS Japan provides summer camp and school-based exchange programs, including scholarships for students from the Tohoku region for long-term exchange programs in the United States.
- Care Center Yawaragi is a non-profit organization in Tokyo that offers personalized home care services for the elderly. The organization will provide healthcare kits, including bicycles, ponchos, gloves, masks, and antiseptic, among other essentials necessary for healthcare providers in the region who care for the elderly, ill, disabled, or pregnant. The healthcare workers will focus on those outside of the shelters who lack mobility or means and require home care.
- Japanese Medical Society of America (JMSA) is a professional medical association of Japanese speaking doctors in New York. In partnership with the Fukushima Prefectural University Medical Center, it supports the Medical Center’s “Kokoro no Care” program, a project to create community-based multidisciplinary mental health clinics. These clinics will provide mental healthcare to patients with symptoms resulting from the March 11 disaster, as well as those with pre-existing conditions.
- Japan Primary Care Association is a professional society of medical practitioners, researchers, and students that promotes best practices in the medical and health and welfare fields. The Japan Primary Care Association established the Primary Care for All Team(PCAT) to undertake medical relief work in the region, providing medical care to evacuees in shelters and temporary housing, as well as to those in need still living at home. The healthcare teams also provide long-term support for local physicians in the region to ensure that patients have access to continued primary care, including obstetrics.
- Supporting Union for Practical-Use of Educational Resources, in partnership with Abukuma NS Net, both of which run summer camps for children all over Japan, started the Fukushima Kids’ Summer Camp for first through ninth graders who cannot enjoy the outdoors this summer due to radiation concerns. With support from JERF, an additional 200 students will participate in the Fukushima Kids Summer Camp in Hokkaido.
- Tokyo Volunteer Network for Disaster Relief is collecting and distributing emergency relief goods, setting up a base in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture, mobilizing approximately 3,000 volunteers who distribute emergency relief supplies and aid clean-up efforts. This organization was also named in JERF’s first round of funding.
The recovery and reconstruction process is likely to take five or even ten years, Sakurai said. “We are looking at a long-term process, and there is much uncertainty. But we are confident in the final analysis Japan will recover and thrive,” he said.
While looking toward the future, the Japan Society is keeping up with where JERF’s donors’ dollars have gone. “We have been rigorously monitoring the work of the fund recipients from the first round, and we are pleased with the progress these organizations are making,” Sakurai said. The Japan Society continues its selection process and will announce the recipients of the third round of funding in the fall.
As of this writing JERF has collected more than $10 million dollars from more than 21,000 donors, ranging from individuals to corporations and foundations. These contributions are tax deductible, and one hundred percent goes to organizations that directly help the disaster victims.
To make a donation visit Japan Society’s website or send a check payable to the Japan Society and marked “Japan Earthquake Relief Fund” to
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
Attn: Japan Earthquake Relief Fund