by Jason Bartashius / Deep Kyoto / October 2, 2012 /
The Kyoto YWCA has offered a home stay program for Fukushima children on four occasions since March 11th each lasting for varying durations ranging from five days to nearly two weeks. To prevent radiation exposure playtime outside for many children has been greatly restricted in Fukushima. To let them to be able to enjoy the outdoors again the children are invited to Kyoto where they can go camping and learn about the historic city and its culture. “It was so fun. I want to come back to Kyoto,” said one child.
The YWCA has provided outreach to Japanese Filipino children by making efforts to invite them to participate in this program. Unable to read Japanese, many Filipino women have not had full access to information about support services and aid in the wake of 3/11. With the help of Hawak Kamay Fukushima, the YWCA invited their children to Kyoto. Another session will be held again next summer. “Next year we’d like to invite children from families who are struggling economically,” said Chie Yoshimura, a part-time staff member.
Below I give a brief summary of some aspects of the current situation in Fukushima to elucidate why the program is important even as the government is re-opening parts of the evacuation zone. I then present the details of the program and summarize the other types of aid the YWCA has given immediately after 3/11 as well as the support they continue to provide to Fukushima families.