Current needs on Oshika

Less than three weeks until my next stay on Oshika, I already have information about a variety of projects that will support the people there, many of whom are still living in temporary housing, more than five years after the earthquake and tsunami. I know that more projects will come up once I am actually there, but for anyone looking for a way to support the area, here is some brief information to get you thinking. Funding requirements range from ¥20,000 to just over ¥1 million, and all money goes directly to the projects themselves — nothing on admin or general expenses, and nothing to me.

Firstly, working clothes for the fishing community are an ongoing need. The outfits I source are made in Hokkaido, and have a reputation on the peninsula for being the most hardwearing the fishermen and women have ever had! As more people return to work, and the fishing industry rebuilds, these brightly coloured outfits are a great way to provide practical support, and cost just ¥20,000 for a full set. Each outfit has the sponsor’s name on it. You can sponsor with your name, or using the name of a loved one, or an organization.

Secondly, I’m thinking ahead to the 2017 incoming students of Oshika Junior High School, and their families. There will be 14 students entering the school next year, which means 14 families, still struggling, trying to find the money to pay for school uniforms and sportswear to get them through their three years at junior high. Sponsorship of clothing for all 14 students amounts to ¥1,030,000. It would be wonderful to be able to find a sponsor for the entire amount, but if you think you’d like to sponsor a set for one child, then this will be about ¥75,000. This money will not be required until February next year, so there’s plenty of time to do any fundraising. The uniforms are made locally, so you’re also supporting a local business still in recovery. I can’t tell you how much the provision of these uniforms means to the families — I have seen in past years just what a relief it is to the parents that this is one less thing to have to find money for, when they are still living in temporary housing, and now have the financial burdens associated with the new homes they hope to move into around the same time that the students enter the school. This is a wonderful way to help.

Thirdly, the people of Ajishima, a tiny island that forms part of Oshika, are looking to rebuild their community and economy through a wide range of projects. These projects are focused on agriculture, self-sustainability, and tourism. They include the following:

  • The creation of a vegetable market stall
  • A kitchen for producing food items for sale or export
  • An eco-park with a children’s playground, outdoor stage for performances, a pizza oven as a community hub and to support a baking micro business
  • An orchard
  • A dog run
  • Garbage disposal and recycling
  • A community house for workshops, and the provision of a free place to stay for those offering skills to benefit the island

The islanders themselves are doing the vast majority of the work on these projects on a voluntary basis, and funding is needed mainly for materials. Preparation has already started on the eco-park; it would be wonderful to give the islanders some encouragement by sponsoring some of their needs.

If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring any of the above, please let me know. I will be posting more details about the Ajishima projects in upcoming blog posts.

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