Network Orange & Futaba HoikuenPosted: May 30, 2011
About two weeks ago, we visited Kesennuma’s Network Orange and Futaba Hoikuen (Day Care).
The children at Futaba were energetic and enthusiastic about guests arriving, particularly English speaking guests.
We dropped off a few boxes of summer clothes, grapes, and bananas for the children to enjoy. One girl gave us note paper in return, which I promptly used to take notes as the head of the Hoikuen explained the situation in the area.
Of the former students, only 2/3 of the children are back. The staff do not know or have not heard from the 1/3 of the families and their children. They explained that many families are living in the evacuation centers, others have moved out of the city. They worry that if the government does not supply jobs and decide what is to be rebuilt, more young families will leave.
Network Orange, formerly a nonprofit that serves children with disabilities, is now focusing on rebuilding Kesennuma communities. Led by a young lady, Miko Onodera, they cleaned out their former office building and is launching their Community Cafe on June 2. If anyone is making their way to Kesennuma this week, please join them in the opening – 10AM to 2PM. You can visit their blog here: Network Orange. Phone number: 080-1697-7611.
We dropped off non-perishable foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, and summer clothes. Miko explained that there is rising tension among those who are living in evacuation centers and those who are not – anyone who tried to return to the city and found their homes destroyed were barred from entering the evacuation centers, and are forced to fend for themselves. Unlike some cities we’ve worked in, supplies and resources that come to the evacuation centers here are not distributed among the families outside the evacuation centers. Network Orange ensures that there is enough supplies for families to sustain themselves while the city recovers.
Summer clothes and shoes were supplied generously by Tsukuda community members through Tsukuda Loves Tohoku. Vegetables and fresh fruit were provided by Grace City Relief. (Photo below: Tsukuda Loves Tohoku volunteers sorting and packing supplies).