August 19, 2011

As part of its efforts to support the children in Tohoku, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) have been conducting a “school for play.” The program targets elementary and middle school children and tries to get them out of the shelters, temporary housing, or daycare so that they have a place where they can run around freely in the fresh air and release some of their stress. From July 28 through August 10, the program was held in two locations in Kesennuma, engaging the children in sports, games, and art projects.

PWJ has also been continuing to help communities hold their traditional summer festivals, as a way both to bring the community together and to help spur economic recovery. In early August, they helped Rikuzentakata hold its Moving Tanabata Festival and Fighting Tanabata Festival. The tsunami had claimed the life of one of the organizing committee members, and much of the equipment and tools needed for the festival had been lost, so PWJ staff worked with the committee to provide the electrical decorations for the festival floats, tents and tables, and the traditional jackets for the drummers. PWJ helped make Rikuzentaka’s annual Tanabata festival a huge success, as crowds came out to see the beautiful illuminated star-themed floats.