May 10, 2012
Ashinaga, a Japanese organization that supports children who have lost one or both parents since its founding in 1969, has been active in Tohoku since the 3.11 disaster. The Japan Earthquake Relief Fund helps to fund Ashinaga’s psychological and emotional support programs for children and their families.
The key message Ashinaga staff delivers to the children and families they support is “you are not alone.” Programs aim to help children—accompanied by trained staff and volunteers—feel and release their emotions through a variety of activities that include playing games and drawing.
At a recent program in the coastal town of Kamaishi, one parent said “I am so grateful. Along with my children, I, too, was able to talk about my grief with other guardians. Although my oldest daughter is quite shy, I hope she will come out of her shell one day.”