Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Something we can all do for Japan

To my dear friends

I'm writing you all to ask if you would contribute to the relief and rehabilitation efforts in the hardest-hit Tohoku region by a Japanese NGO called JEN: www.jen-npo.org.   They have been working in emergency situations—postwar and post-disaster—since the 1990s, and they are considered to be one of the best.  In addition to projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc., they have a program in Niigata where they've been supporting a small community of elderly farmers to rebuild their lives after the Niigata Earthquake in 2004.  Seeing their work there, I know that JEN can and will respond with care to the needs of victims, not only in the immediate relief, but in the long years of recovery ahead.


There must be other large organizations mobilizing for action right now.  While they also do good work, it can also be limited.  Small but highly skilled NGOs like JEN can do what large agencies cannot do—be attentive to the multiple local needs and act according to each situation.  This means that they can choose to work in neglected and hard-to-reach areas, work flexibly according to the fast changes of post-disaster conditions, without large overhead costs, and without bureaucratic constraints.  They will also continue to be there when others have left after the relief phase.  In short, your donations will go far to help victims directly.


If you'd like to contribute, you can do so using your credit cards or through the post office:

http://www.jen-npo.org/contribute/form01_1.php   (credit card, in Japanese)

http://www.jen-npo.org/en/involved/donate1.php   (credit card, in English)

http://www.jen-npo.org/contribute/contribute.html#furikae   (postal, only if you live in Japan)


I will keep you updated on their activities in the days to come. 


It would be great if your companies/employers are interested in donating as well.  Please contact info@jen-npo.org or 03-5225-9352 (or me) if your company is interested in donating to JEN.


Another possible entity for companies to donate to would be Japan Platform: http://www.japanplatform.org/.  It's a consortium of NGOs, the private sector, and the government that pools together money and resources so that selected professional NGOs can respond quickly to emergency situations like this one.  Although the Red Cross seems to be the obvious choice for the general public and people overseas, there are highly skillful Japanese NGOs that I think could make better use of your contributions.  


One last thing—I also urge you to consider contributing again next year, and the following year.  The lives of those affected are often the hardest when the world has begun to forget, and sadly those are the times when donations drop drastically… 


Please let me know if you have any questions!  And please forward this message to others.  Thank you so much for reading this far, and clicking on the links above.  Every little act will help.


Much love,


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