Living Dreams is a non-governmental organization established under International Educational Association for Children (IEAC) in 2001. Living Dreams supports children’s homes in Tokyo and Tohoku. The organization uses LAST principles (Learning, Arts, Sports, and Technology) to set children on the path toward becoming responsible, confident, and empowered adults. Currently, Living Dreams supports 2,250 children in 45 homes in Japan.
Direct Relief has supported Living Dreams since November 2011 with cash grants to fund earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster relief and recovery efforts.
Since the disasters in March 2011, Living Dreams has been assessing needs and supporting 19 children’s homes in the affected region. Living Dreams’ needs range from very basic household items to support for more enriching programs. Collaboration between Direct Relief and Living Dreams is focused on an education and support system for children’s homes in Fukushima Prefecture. Living Dreams is supported by 60 volunteers who help to manage projects and run the organization.
- Fukushima Prefecture: Souma City
TOTAL AMOUNT GRANTED: $280,000
Project Dates: November 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012
Living Dreams is working closely with Smile Kids Japan (SKJ) on the Tohoku Kids Project to support children’s homes (orphanages) in the region most affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Direct Relief, with a generous contribution from the Hidy Ochiai Foundation, has “adopted” Souma Aiikuen Children’s Home in Souma City, Fukushima Prefecture, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the damaged nuclear power plant. Through adopting the children’s home, Direct Relief will support learning, arts, sports, and technology programs for the 32 children who live in the home.
Living Dreams’ relief and recovery activities are detailed below:
- Christmas Wish Program: For the first Christmas after the disaster, the children will receive presents and a lunch party.
- Computer Provision: Living Dreams is purchasing and installing seven computers and one printer for the children and staff at the children’s home.
- Therapy for the Children: An overnight retreat will allow the children to explore their physical and emotional boundaries.
- Tutoring: Over 90 sessions of tutoring will be provided to aid the children’s education.
- Staff Development: Staff members from the home will be provided with training in Tokyo and on-site to improve their ability to educate and care for the children.
- Playground Construction: During the summer of 2012, Living Dreams will rebuild the home’s radiation-affected playground to make it safe for the children to use again.
Project Dates: March 2014 to March 2018
The core objective of this project is to meet the needs of children through technology programs and learning activities. The children living in children’s homes in Japan have very little access to the world beyond their home and school. Only nine percent of children in these homes in Japan go to college and about one-third of these children are at least two grade levels below their peers. Provision of basic technology to these children helps bridge the divide and prepare them for a successful future.
The Digital Natives program is built on the philosophy that access to the Internet can be a viable tool for children to communicate, explore and learn. Simultaneously, the digital medium is fast becoming our go-to and primary source for accessing all kinds of essential services and information; job seeking, government programs, health information, etc. The skills required to access this information are indispensable.
- Internet Connection: Living Dreams will work with the children’s home to connect their facility to high-speed internet, provide wireless access, and ensure safe and secure access for children.
- Supporting Technology: Tablets, laptops, printers, cameras, and supporting software will be provided. Ideally, each older child will have access to their own device. Living Dreams will repair, replace, and update technology and equipment as needed.
- Technology Training: Both the managers of the children’s homes and the children will be trained on safe and effective use of the equipment, software, and cloud system.