Fukushima Kids’ Spring Camp press release
Summary: As a result of the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant, the children of Fukushima have been forbidden to play outside. With winter vacation just around the corner, we do not want the children to be forced to spend their vacation indoors, but want to provide an educational opportunity whereby they will be able to learn and grow. The experiences and opportunities for communication that children get during their childhood will be a treasure they will cherish for the rest of their lives.
Statement of Purpose of the Fukushima Kids’ Winter Camp
On March 11th, the great East Japan Earthquake hit eastern Japan, and on the next day, the Fukushima Nuclear Plant incurred a tragic accident. Unbelievable numbers of people lost their lives in this disaster and with the spread of radiation contamination in the aftermath of the nuclear plant disaster, the lives of the people of Fukushima Prefecture have been greatly affected.
The disaster and accident at the nuclear plant has affected our projects as well, and we had to cancel our spring vacation children’s experiential programs. Reports of the nuclear plant accident are still coming in every day, and the formula, “Fukushima=Nuclear Plant Accident=Radiation=Dangerous” has been implanted in our minds. With the anxiety surrounding the spread of radiation, all 2011 experiential exchange programs have been canceled, and our core agricultural activities have also been canceled.
The mountain village exchange projects which we began 24 years ago have stopped with the nuclear plant accident, but we have received supporting messages from the many children who have come to Fukushima in the past, as well as from people overseas—from those we have known through our intercity exchange programs.
In the aftermath of the disaster, we have been actively involved in supporting the children of Fukushima, and we have also initiated our own projects to accept those families who have lost their homes. Through these initiatives, we have found that the children are doing relatively well despite their plight, but they have become accustomed to enduring and accepting the restricted lives they have been forced into. Furthermore, the end of the nuclear disaster is yet to be seen.
The children are restrained from playing outside. Children with handicaps have been deprived of their supporting environments. The children cannot play freely in the fields and woods. We feel that it is the responsibility of the adults to do something for the children, and have decided to provide an opportunity for them to spread their wings and play openly in a safe environment—at least during long vacations in summer, winter, and spring. It was out of these considerations that our plans were born.
There is a precedent for our project. During the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake, as well as the Chu-etsu Earthquake, summer programs for the children of these areas were conducted, and their success have all been highly evaluated. However, the sheer size of the disaster, as well as the effects of the nuclear accident have made the present situation incomparably huge.
We ask you to help us bring back the “true smile” and spirit of life which should be trademark of our children.
We will continue not only in the winter but also in the spring and summer. We ask you to please donate for these programs and make possible that children of Fukushima will attend “Fukushima Kids’ Winter Camp” as often as possible. Please check the details on our website. →https://fukushima-kids.org