2013 APRICOT Fund Distribution

Spring is just around the corner and the beauty of the cherry blossoms will be soon with us. It will soon be March 11th, 3 years since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

We are more than grateful for your kind support for APRICOT, which we launched in order to support the victims of the earthquakes, tsunami, and the triple nuclear meltdowns.

This report discusses the trial activities and the projects done for APRICOT in 2013 to illustrate how much we raised and how we distributed the donations for children in the East Japan (Tohoku). In 2013, with a limited number of volunteer staff members, we were only able to engage in grassroots activities. We believe that even the smallest contribution each one of us were able to make, made a big difference for people in the disaster area.

Three years have already past since then. As the months went by, recovery efforts have been progressing right up until present day. It is our firm intention to continue our support for the children of Tohoku, even more with your kind support and contributions. We very much appreciate your continuing assistance and wonderful cooperation for our activities.

By the end of 2013, we raised ¥392,028 in total, thank you so much for your cooperation.

After careful consideration, We delivered these funds to the organizations listed below.

NPO Network of Childcare: 150,000 yen 

In association with the administrative director of the organization, Ms. Kanae Narui, who is also the chairman of Fukushima Association of Clinical Psychologists. Children and their families from Fukushima were invited to the Republic of Belarus, which was so severely affected by nuclear fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Catastrophe. However, it was financially difficult to make the inspection tour possible. So we were able to support them with a donation of ¥150000 to this organization. Some of you may already have heard about this tour on the news as this meeting for observation report was held in Koriyama, Fukushima on September 28th.

General Incorporated Association Social Support Network: 100,000 yen 

This NPO undertook projects sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, to create an educational DVD, “Image Collection for Mental health Support” , with Prof. Yoshihiro Tominaga at Hyogo University of Teacher Education.

Prof. Tominaga is an active member of the Japanese Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists 311 Mental Health Support Center and has supported children in the disaster area to utilize his own experience of mental health support for the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. DVD was created in order for parents and teachers to efficiently learn and become proactively able to provide appropriate mental health care for children and for themselves in the role of caretakers at serious risk of burn out.

The DVD introduced a unique class meetings held at South Soma City Shoukou Elementary School used as a evacuation site. The meeting was conducted to support students who had no choice but to evacuate and to adjust to their new circumstances. The first two sets of DVDs have already been distributed to schools at all three levels in the affected prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima. The purpose of these DVDs is to use for “Mental Health Education and Emotional Support Classes for Children After Great Disaster” for next year.

However, The NPO experienced financial difficulty during the creation of this educational DVD that was to be spread among educators and counselors working with children in the disaster area in 2014. We heard of this situation and so APRICOT was able to donate ¥100000 to support their activities.

Project Rose100,000 yen 

This group is consist of members working at the Meisei University counseling rooms and supports Tanohata Village, a small village located in Iwate prefecture. Some of you may have heard about the village as the location for popular TV series, Amachan.

We got to know the group since Andrew Grimes and Junko Kimura, (the director and vice director of our counseling center) got acquanted with Makoto Kuroiwa at Meisei University. Prof. Kuroiwa started this support group since he had assistance from people in this village when he engaged in group activities as a student of Waseda University.

The village is small without any psychiatrist residing there, so as the first step, we followed the health nurse visiting each house in the disaster areas. We greeted and handed in a rose to each person whom we have met. Also, Our main activity at the initial phrase was to assist both health nurses and mental health counselors working at temporary housing.

Every summer after the disaster, we conduct mental health lecture presentation along with recreational activities in the party for local people, including pizza baking and tasting traditional food in Tohoku.

From around last year, those affected by disaster gradually move from the temporary housing. In contrast with the good news, their emotional distress may be increased due to conflict that arises in relationship.

Some students are interested in joining the activities to assist the local people in the village,but transportation fee are not so affordable for them although they take on highway bus. We hope our small contribution will sustain their activities for local people in Tanohata village.

This concludes the financial activity of Apricot 2013.