December 30, 2011

NICCO staff presents books to a junior high school that had been damaged in the disaster. NICCO has been working since June to help rebuild and repair schools in the town of Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, and Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture. Nine elementary schools and seven middle schools were severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, forcing the children to commute to other schools and facilities. The schools that sustained less damage became the site of evacuation centers and temporary housing, making it difficult for the children to participate in normal daily activities. NICCO’s efforts have focused on trying to provide some sense of normalcy to these schools. One area that they assisted with was providing assistance to local baseball teams to participate in the prefectural tournaments, which not only helped the team but gave a much-needed boost to the spirits of their communities. They also provided gym clothes for middle schools that had lost everything in the disaster. They provided books for school libraries. And they cleaned and planted flowers on school grounds with the help of student volunteers from around the country.