News Archive
Feb 4, 2013 - Fukushima Youth Ambassadors in Australia: 2013
Fukushima Youth Ambassadors in Australia: 2013
- Widened Horizons: Opening the World's Door for Fukushima's Youth -

BACKGROUND

The young people of Fukushima have endured one of the world's largest-ever earthquakes, a devastating tsunami and the terror of the nuclear accident at the Daiichi nuclear power plant. Although Prime Minister Noda declared an "end" to the nuclear crises, many places are still contaminated with high level of radiation, and survivors are thus under tremendous pressure and stress: trauma, fear, separation from family and/or family breakdown, economic strains, community pressures, health concerns and anxiety. This is an untenable situation for anybody, but especially cruel for youth and for their worried parents. The parents of the city are desperate for a safe alternative to their children remaining isolated indoors.

With support from both within and outside Japan, including the Minamisoma Parents' and Teachers' Association (PTA), Peace Boat has conducted two programmes to bring children out of the dangerous radiation contaminated areas for at least the temporary period of their school vacation, and provide them with the precious experience of intercultural exchange. Past feedback from children and parents includes;

"Until meeting my Sri Lankan friend who experienced tsunami in 2004 at the same age as me, I was not able to feel I have a future. Looking at a big smile and positive spirit he carries, it gave me a courage that I should have a future to look forward to." (14 years old)

"The Sports Festival was my highlight of a trip. I didn't have to worry about how long I stay outside, what to touch, etc. I felt so much fun and refreshed!" (13 years old)

"My daughter did not want to move out of Fukushima prior to her Peace Boat experience. Only after 2 weeks, she came back and said she now thinks it is an option to go to a new school. She became up for a new challenge. Sending my daughter to Peace Boat brought me a big happiness and a surprise." (45 years old, mother)

FUKUSHIMA YOUTH AMBASSADORS: AUSTRALIA, 2013

The Fukushima Youth Ambassadors: Australia programme will bring 12 junior high school students from Minamisoma – a city located on the coast only 25 km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant which was also heavily affected by the tsunami – to Melbourne for a programme of educational and cultural exchange with local students and citizen's groups. It will provide them an opportunity to experience intercultural understanding workshops, learn about environmental issues through outdoor activities, and practise English. In this healthy, dynamic and creative environment they will learn new skills, enjoy new experiences and gain a fresh perspective on the future, invaluable to them as they struggle to consider the future of their disaster-affected community.

Objectives:
  • To meet local needs through a temporary break from radiation contaminated areas of Fukushima for the duration of the program, reducing the burden of worry on their parents
  • To provide the youth, through international travel, cultural exchange and outdoor experiences, with opportunities to experience diverse societies and cultures, promoting their healthy ongoing development and positive mental health
  • To energize and encourage the Fukushima community, through the renewed energy and perspectives brought home by the youth participants
  • To bring the real voices of Fukushima youth to the international society to raise awareness, enhance understanding and consider ways for international cooperation to prevent such tragedies from happening again and continue to support the local community

Program Outline:
Jan-Feb: Preparation for participants, fundraising activities in Japan and Australia
March 24-31: Cultural exchange, outdoor activities, English workshops etc
To be held in Melbourne and surrounds (including study, sport and sightseeing) (Departing Japan on March 23, arriving back April 1)

INFORMATION ON PARTICIPANTS:

12 junior high school students (Grades 8-10) from Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture will join the programme, selected by the local schools and community. This will include 2 students from each of the 6 now operating junior high schools in the area.
Staff and coordinators from the Minamisoma Community and from Peace Boat (including interpreter) will also accompany the program.

ORGANISERS:

This programme is coordinated by Tokyo-based international organisation Peace Boat, and its Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center; in cooperation with Melbourne-based citizen's groups including Japanese for Peace, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW), the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), local schoolteachers, members of the Japanese-Australian community and more (TBC).

Founded in 1983, Peace Boat is an international non-governmental and non-profit organization with Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The organization works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment through global educational programs, cooperative projects and advocacy activities on global peace voyages.

As part of our wider peace building activities, Peace Boat has carried out emergency relief operations since the Kobe earthquake of 1995, delivering emergency assistance and raising funds, as well as coordinating the dispatch of experienced logisticians, interpreters and volunteer teams to affected areas all over the world. Peace Boat has coordinated over 18,000 volunteers to work in the disaster affected areas of northeastern Japan since March 2011.

Peace Boat has been active in humanitarian assistance for citizens both remaining in Fukushima and those who have evacuated to other parts of Japan, and providing regular opportunities for temporary evacuation and cultural experiences for Fukushima youth. Furthermore, Peace Boat plays a leading role in the ever growing movement for Japan to learn from the lessons of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and move away from nuclear power to more sustainable forms of energy.

DONATE

Peace Boat is now calling for donations to help to make the "Fukushima Youth Ambassadors: Australia 2013" possible. Any amount will be greatly appreciated.

Within Japan:

Postal Transfer
Postal Transfer Account : 00120-9-488841
Account Name: Peace Boat Saigai Volunteer Center
* Please fill in "Fukushima" in the Memo Field

Bank Account
Yuucho Bank
Branch Zero One Nine (Branch 19):
Interim 0488841
Account Name: Peace Boat Saigai Relief Center
* Before the transfer request name, please write "Fukushima" (Example: "Fukushima Yamada Taro" * Please contact for transfers by Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Bank

CONTACT:

Meri Joyce, International Coordinator, Peace Boat
Email: meri(a)peaceboat.gr.jp OR Fukushimayouthambassadors(a)gmail.com
Tel: +81-3-3363-8047
Fax: +81-3-3363-7562
Documents for download
Fukushima Youth Ambassadors in Australia: 2013