The Japan IsraAID Support Program (JISP) aims to provide Japan’s devastated Tohoku region with targeted post-trauma capacity-building, psycho-social services, and leadership and professional skills training for youth.
On March 11th 2011, Japan was hit by the most powerful earthquake (9.0 Richter scale) ever known to have hit the peninsula. Following the earthquake, a large tsunami devastated Japan’s eastern coast, damaging or destroying nearly 400,000 buildings, leaving 20,000 dead and 250,000 homeless in its wake. The earthquake also caused serious damage to the nuclear plant in Fukushima, resulting in a dangerous nuclear radioactive leak.
Trauma capacity building for hundreds of Tohoku professionals
Healing Japan is an intensive training course aimed at developing local professional networks capable of assisting a traumatized population through non-verbal techniques due to their cultural relevance in Japan. Groups from over 10 different cities are part of this project, bringing together teachers, school counselors, social workers, community leaders, and non-profit staff. Healing Japan is a multi-dimensional project that focuses on both a tailor-made theoretical curriculum, and practical application.
- To provide Tohoku professionals with knowledge about post trauma and the understanding of the process and normal/pathologic warning signals
- To introduce the use of art, music, theatre, psycho-drama, and movement as therapeutic method for the treatment of trauma-related disorders
- To adapt world-leading Israeli techniques to the specific Japanese cultural context
- To create a network of trained professionals that can provide a sustainable and qualified response to the problems of trauma
- To use the trainings as a platform for participants, many of whom have undergone serious post trauma, to assist themselves before turning to others
- Developed training groups in over 10 cities in Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate prefectures, bringing together hundreds of teachers, social workers, government officials, volunteers, non-profit workers, and community leaders
- Over 20 American and Israeli professionals have taken part in curriculum building and workshop facilitation
- In November 2011, IsraAID was awarded the Luminary Award from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York, as well as a honorary certificate given by the Governor of Miyagi Prefecture
Voices of Tohoku
Psycho-social support, resilience training, and oral history interviews for survivors of the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake
Created a month after the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, the Voices of Tohoku project began as a series of psychosocial activities to help prevent trauma, increase resilience, and expand the coping mechanisms of survivors of the disaster. Today, our Voices of Tohoku project includes regular trauma prevention activities conducted by highly experienced Israeli and International trauma professionals, and assisted and gradually replaced by the graduates of the Healing Japan project. In addition, the project includes a series of cultural community events within the temporary housing centers, hosted in partnership with local municipalities and the Japanese branches of global companies.
- Releave stress and increase the resilience of survivors of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, with a specific emphasis on children and the elderly from the temporary housing centers
- Build new bonds within the temporary housing communities to enhance community support and prevent isolation
- Increase awareness of trauma and coping mechanisms within the general Tohoku population
- Create an archive of interviews documenting disaster survival and devastated towns
- Host cultural and communal events to support the temporary housing areas
- Over 800 children and senior citizens attend IsraAID Voices of Tohoku activities on a regular basis
- More than 9 temporary housing communities are benefiting from the Voices of Tohoku project
- In excess of 115 interviews have been documented as part of the Oral History initiative
- Communal stress-relief activities have been arranged with Hilton and HP-Asia
Tohoku - Looking to the Future
A youth leadership and skills training program to promote livelihood and social cohesion
One of the fundamental long-term problems created by the earthquake and tsunami is a spike in unemployment, with the main industries of the region – fishing and agriculture – devastated and slow to recover. Among the worst hit by this economic uncertainty is the youth of Tohoku, who must now try and acquire new skills in a challenging new job market, largely devoid of the skills that would once guarantee employment. This project consists of 3 main stages including group building activities & basic leadership skills, vocational training and a community project.
- To boost the self-confidence and social leadership skills of Tohoku's youth
- To increase the chances at gainful employment for Tohoku's youth through vocational training in the Japanese branches of global companies
- To facilitate the community rehabilitation projects of participating youth
- To promote the communication and cooperation between youth and their communities
- Vocational training seminars for youth have been successfully organized in cooperation with Hilton Tokyo and HP-Asia
- Over 120 youth are regular participants in IsraAID's skills and leadership workshops