March 12, 2012

AAR holds a special event for children in a Fukushima school where high radiation levels still prevent kids from playing outside

The Association for Aid and Relief (AAR) Japan held a special event for children at a school in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, in a town that has been affected by the radiation leak from the nuclear plant. Children are only allowed outside to play when the radiation levels are below 0.5 microsieverts—which has happened only five times since the disaster struck. The event included a story time featuring a book that AAR had published, a visit from the AAR mascot (who is also the main character in the book), and gifts of chocolates and handmade bags, which were accompanied by messages of support for the children. The principal of the school noted, “The children’s eyes were different than they usually are—they were sparkling and they looked truly happy!”

AAR staff also had a chance to speak to some of the parents who had come to pick up their children after the event. One mother was originally from the area around the nuclear plant that had been evacuated. She explained that before the accident, three generations of her family had been living together—10 people in all—but now they are scattered. Her husband had quit his job at the nuclear plant following the accident, but hadn’t been able to find a new job. Clearly, the stress levels for both children and parents remains high, and AAR is continuing to try to find ways to assist them.