Direct Relief and the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) awarded this week $82,000 to the Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) to support the remodeling of a mobile library vehicle.
The current mobile library, which serves 150 households in Iwate Prefecture on the tsunami-affected coast, is a small truck with bookshelves. To continue operating and expand services to additional temporary housing establishments, SVA will remodel a van donated by Nissan. The remodeled van will be usable in cold weather, hold more books and supplies, and allow for the expansion of the services.
SVA has been operating a mobile library, which travels to 13 temporary housing establishments in four towns on a bi-weekly rotation. Children and adults read and borrow books, participate in activities such as origami and drawing, and socialize. Volunteers help run the library by setting up, reading to and doing crafts with the children, and lending books.
Without SVA’s mobile library services, people in Yamada, Otsuchi, Ofunato, and Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture would not have any access to library services. SVA staff report that the tsunami in this region significantly diminished library services—books were destroyed, library buildings were damaged, and library workers were lost in the disaster.
This is the second grant awarded to SVA in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 to boost recovery for the people most affected by these devastating events.