JVC Grant Summary

Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) is a non-governmental organization established in 1980. JVC works in nine countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa operating various development and disaster relief programs.

Direct Relief has supported JVC since March 2011 cash grants to fund Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami relief and recovery efforts in Japan.

JVC began its relief activities one week after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. Funding from Direct Relief was used in the immediate aftermath to support the Kesennuma Volunteer Center in Miyagi Prefecture, which provided potable water to tsunami-affected zone. JVC continues to support local needs during the recovery period, independently and in collaboration with the Kesennuma Volunteer Center.

Locations:

  • Miyagi Prefecture: Kesennuma
  • Fukushima Prefecture: Minami-Soma

TOTAL AMOUNT GRANTED: $911,718


Emergency Relief Program Grant 2011

Project Dates: March 20, 2011 to December 31, 2011
Amount: $151,716

Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) has provided assistance to the survivors of the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. JVC volunteers have come from all over Japan to help disaster victims in Shishiori District in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, staying for months at a time.  Sixty-three of the 251 families living in Shishiori District still live in their homes, where JVC visits them and provides assistance.  JVC’s relief activities have included food distribution, transportation, and childcare. These activities are conducted in collaboration with the Kesennuma Volunteer Center, SHARE, and local government agencies.

JVC’s relief and recovery activities are detailed below:

  • Volunteer Center Support: From March to August 2011, approximately 200 people volunteered each day at the Kesennuma Volunteer Center, where JVC helped coordinate relief activities in the Shishiori District.
  • Needs Assessment: To identify needs in the community and prioritize relief and recovery activities, JVC conducts household surveys, often in partnership with other nonprofit organizations.
  • Material Aid Distribution: JVS has distributed water, food, and other essential items to residents of Shishiori District in Kesennuma.
  • Income-Generating Activities: JVC has sought to accelerate a return to normal life for disaster survivors by sponsoring activities that provide them with a source of income, such as the repairing fishing tools or selling vegetables donated by local farmers.
  • Community Events: Because many families, friends, and neighbors were geographically separated by the disaster, JVC holds events to reunite communities.  Events—such as tea gatherings and traditional performances—not only celebrate the traditions of the culture, but also encourage communication and interaction.


Minami-Soma Community Support Grant 2011

Project Dates: December 15, 2011 to March 31, 2012
Amount: $84,440 

Approximately 15,000 people in Minami-Soma in Fukushima Prefecture lost their homes to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in March 2011.  Minami-Soma not only suffered serious damage from the earthquake due to it’s soft ground, but a part of the city is also designated as a no-entry zone around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  Minamisoma is about 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of the power plant and the remaining residents of Minami-Soma live under continuous low-level exposure. The average age of temporary housing residents in this area is estimated to be 80 years old.

JVC’s relief and recovery activities are detailed below:

  • Needs Assessment: Because JVC is supporting temporary housing establishments facing unique issues related to the nuclear power plant, it is predicted that unknown needs will appear.  JVC staff are monitoring the situation and researching the needs of the residents in order to better support them.
  • Community Center Equipping: A total of 338 families in 3 temporary housing units will benefit from the free use and retrofitting of their community centers.  This includes the addition of chairs, tables, tea and coffee sets, and air purifiers.
  • Operation of Community Centers: Before JVC stepped in, the community rooms were usually locked and not free for use by the residents.  In cooperation with Hotaru, the residents’ association, and the municipal welfare council, JVC will operate the community centers until residents are ready to take over.


Emergency Relief Program Grant 2012

Project Dates: January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012
Amount: $275,844

Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) has provided assistance to the survivors of the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. JVC volunteers have come from all over Japan to help disaster victims in Shishiori District in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture, staying for months at a time.  Sixty-three of the 251 families living in Shishiori District still live in their homes, where JVC visits them and provides assistance.  JVC’s relief activities have included food distribution, transportation, and childcare. These activities are conducted in collaboration with the Kesennuma Volunteer Center, SHARE, and local government agencies.

JVC’s relief and recovery activities are detailed below:

  • Community Empowerment: In Shishiori District, JVC has responded to the requests from the community to provide a community newspaper, cultural events, home visit to remote residents, and community farming support.
  • Winter Protection: Severe winter weather in Japan from December to April disproportionally affects those living in the 232 temporary houses in Shishiori District.  JVC is providing materials and guidance to protect against the cold and improve the living environment inside the homes.
  • Education Support: As most residents in the area attended Urashima Primary School, it has become an important symbol of the community.  Using this space, JVC has been able to bring people together who have been separated.
  • Fishery Support: JVC provides human resources and information to support the those who make a living in this critical industry.
  • Advocacy: JVC is advocating for residents’ opinions and views in regards to proposed large development projects in the area by the government.


Minami-Soma Community Support Grant 2012

Project Dates: April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013
Amount: $205,696 

Continuation of the Minami-Soma Community Support Grant 2011.


Community Activities in Minami Soma, Fukushima 2014

Project Dates: October 24, 2013 to March 31, 2015
Amount: $200,000 

More than three years after the tsunami and nuclear disaster, the residents of Minami-Soma in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, are still suffering from the effects.  Odaka, a community less than 15 miles from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, was designated as a No-Entry Zone due to high radiation levels.  Approximately 12,000 residents of Odaka were forced to leave their homes and live in temporary housing a few miles away.    In April 2012, Odaka was re-designated and people were allowed to enter the area but not allowed to stay overnight.  It is widely expected that the temporary housing in Minami-Soma will remain open beyond the 2015 closing date given by the government.

The average age of evacuees living in temporary housing is over 70 years old; many of the younger generation have left the area for fear of radiation and in search of employment opportunities.

Since the disaster in 2011, JVC, with help from Direct Relief funding, has supported six community spaces to help encourage communication and social activities among residents, many of whom felt isolated following the disaster.

JVC’s relief and recovery activities are detailed below:

  • Cultural Activities: Traditional entertainment such as dance and song are taught and practiced in the community spaces.
  • Resident Empowerment: JVC works with local organization, Tsunagappe, to encourage residents to take initiative and participate actively in management of the community and community activities.
  • Psychological Health: In addition to supporting residents’ social interaction and activity levels, volunteer psychiatrists hold information sessions about avoiding depression and staying emotionally and mentally healthy.
  • Local Collaboration: JVC is working in partnership with local organizations, such as Tsunagappe and the Social Welfare Council to encourage residents to use community space and ensure residents are cared for.

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