JCIE worked with MetLife Alico Japan to launch a special program, the MetLife Alico Employees’ Children Support Program, to aid children and their families as they coped with the recovery process. The program was made possible through donations from MetLife Alico employees, and it provided one-year grants to 21 Japanese groups for the grant period April 1, 2012—March 31, 2013.
Academy Camp Executive Committee (¥1 million; $12,150)
Because the radiation contamination in Fukushima will remain for decades, this group hopes to institutionalize a summer camp program for Fukushima children that will continue operating in the long term. Children traveled to a campsite away from Fukushima to work on various team-building exercises and other activities led by university students.
Ai Chikara (Power of Love): Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction Support Group (¥1 million; $12,150)
Outdoor activities are limited for children in Fukushima due to radiation concerns. This two-week program brought children from Fukushima to Aichi, located in western Japan, providing them with an opportunity to enjoy nature, experience farming and cooking, and build friendships.
Asuiku (Education for Tomorrow) (¥1 million; $12,150)
This organization began providing tutoring sessions in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, when schools were being used as evacuation shelters, leaving students without adequate time or space for study. This grant supported the continuation of the tutoring program in five temporary housing locations in Sendai and the surrounding areas for elementary and middle school students.
ATOPICCO Network for Children of the Earth (¥1 million; $12,150)
This organization invited evacuee families with children who suffer from atopic syndrome/allergies to attend a summer camp, where they could enjoy the outdoors and participate in a range of activities in an allergy-safe environment. Special meals were provided to accommodate hypersensitive children.
BeSUPPORT (¥670,000; $8,140)
The group was established by clinical psychologists in March 2011 to support evacuees who temporarily moved to Shizuoka. The group provides counseling, organizes group meetings, and holds fun activities for children and adults of evacuee families to lessen their stress and concerns.
Children & Youth Community Matching (¥1 million; $12,150)
The project set up “mobile play areas and children’s cafés” in temporary housing developments and schools by delivering toys, games, musical instruments, and other items by truck to the Ishinomaki area.
Children’s Garden (¥290,000; $3,523)
In Nihonmatsu in Fukushima, children’s outdoor activities are restricted to 2 hours a day due to the risk of radiation exposure. Through this program, children take part in creative projects designed to stimulate their senses and encourage communication. Children enjoy activities such as building pyarmids with thousands of paper cups or creating edible scultures with candy and icing.
House for a Brighter Future of Fukushima Children (¥1 million; $12,150)
Due to concerns of radiation, many families are hoping to get away from Fukushima, even if temporarily, so that their children can have a chance to play outside and the parents can relax without the constant fear of radiation. The group secured four houses in Yamagata where families with children can stay for months at a time, and the grant supports the group’s long-term continuation of this program.
Ishinomaki Koyo Youth Mini Basketball Club (¥350,000; $4,252)
To provide children in Ishinomaki, one of the hard hit communities in Miyagi, with opportunities to get together with other children and enjoy sports, a mini-basketball tournament league was organized in which mini-basketball teams in Ishinomaki and the surrounding areas could participate.
Kamaishi Higashi Junior High School (¥550,000; $6,682)
The tsunami reached up to the roof of Kamaishi Higashi Jr. High School, washing away everything. A temporary school was built, but it did not provide adequate equipment or space for club and after-school activities, and families were not able to cope with the financial burden to make up for these difficulties. A field was being built next door to the temporary school grounds, and this grant was intended to help revive the school’s sports and after-school activities for students.
Kirara Kai (Children of the Stars Group) (¥310,000; $3,766)
This group supports children with disabilities in gaining knowledge and learning various skills useful in daily and social life. After the disaster, the need for such support increased and a greater number of children with disabilities were on the waiting list for the group’s services. The grant was to support the group’s plans to open another facility to expand their operations.
Kodomo to Noasobi-wo-tanoshimu kai (Enjoying the Outdoors with Children) (¥650,000; $7,897)
Though a summer/autumn camp of outdoor activities as well as art & music projects, this group sought to create a space and outlet for the children of Kesennuma, whose lives were disrupted by the disaster and subsequent rebuilding efforts.
Marutto Nishi-Nihon (Western Japan Evacuee Coordination Group) (¥700,000; $8,505)
This volunteer group of evacuees from Fukushima aims to help mothers with children who hope and choose to move from Fukushima to Western parts of Japan by responding to individual inquiries, assisting in the process of the relocation, and networking with mothers in similar situations to help each other and to prevent isolation.
Miyagi Warasukko Project (Miyagi Child Laughter Project) (¥1 million; $12,150)
The program supports local kindergartens and preschools in Miyagi that were operating in temporary facilities or with limited capacities after the disaster. The group provided supplies as well as program and personnel support as kindergartens prepared to re-open or move from temporary locations to more permanent facilities.
Niko-Niko Support (Smile Support) (¥1 million; $12,150)
The group runs a daycare center for children between 0 and 12 years old in Sendai to respond to the needs of mothers who work or who wish to work. The grant supported the expansion of the nursery’s operations, as well as the opening of a café where children and mothers can gather. This also provides a space for community engagement and information exchange among working mothers who face similar challenges.
Ogawara Youth Swimming Club (¥410,000; $4,981)
Most swimming clubs in Miyagi were closed or temporarily suspended their programs after the disaster, and schools canceled swimming classes due to the fear of radiation. For children who like swimming or want to learn to swim, a 3-day summer camp was organized to provide the opportunity to learn and spend time together.
P@CT (3/11 Recovery Assistance Team) (¥500,000; $6,075)
The group set up eight after-school centers for students from elementary to high school, where they can spend time with friends and receive tutoring services. The grant supported the operation of these centers and helped set up a secretariat to strengthen their coordination with universities and other institutions.
Peace Jam (¥670,000; $8,140)
The program aims to create peer support groups of mothers with small children in Miyagi who have been facing great challenges since the disaster. By organizing events such as yoga classes for mothers and babies, the group seeks to support and provide opportunities for mothers to connect with each other.
Rainbow Project for Playing With Art (¥500,000; $6,075)
Art workshops target children in Otsuchi-cho, one of the hardest hit communities in Iwate. Through interactive art projects, the program seeks to energize children in areas where most cultural facilities were damaged by the tsunami and are still nonexistent.
Sukiurakai (LoveUrayasu) (¥400,000; $4,860)
The group set up a small Manga library in Ofunato in Iwate to provide a space where children could relax and interact with others. It also planned to organize events themed around Manga, such as drawing classes, in which children could take part as beneficiaries as well as organizers.
Tohoku University of Art & Design: Tohoku Reconstruction Association (¥1 million; $12,150)
A summer art camp was organized for children and families from Minamisoma in Fukushima, one of the areas struggling to deal with high levels of radiation. The 4-day camp created time for families to spend together in a safe environment while enjoying various art projects taught by university professors and students.