NICCO offered an outline of its efforts to provide “kokoro no kea“—care for the heart—focused on children in the Tohoku region who are suffering from or are susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their experiences. With the help of child psychologists and counsellors, they are conducting programs at an ongoing workshop known as the “Sky Room,” where kids engage in games and creative projects. Approximately 60 children are participating in activities designed to help children avoid PTSD and then to get over the past and rebuild their confidence. Some of the regular activities include a music program, a photographic expression program, a film-making program, and a drama program. They also hold other events, such as a workshop over the summer vacation and soccer events.
On March 25, JEN helped the people of Ishinomaki hold a festival of appreciation at Sasu Beach. Local residents and many people who are hoping for the reconstruction of the area visited Sasu, making for a very lively event. The oysters of Sasu Beach are considered to be among the best in the world. Guests were treated to steamed oysters and ushio soup (soup made from blue mussels), and the venue was filled with many happy smiles. Among the visitors were people from Iketani in Niigata Prefecture, a site where JEN has been engaged since the 2004 Niigata Chuetsu earthquake.