Report on the initiatives that were held during the three-year period

JEN was established in January 1994 to provide emergency assistance in the region formerly known as Yugoslavia. Under the motto of "aid the will to live," JEN consistently promotes self-reliance initiatives based on the efforts of local people. It has held a full range of far-reaching assistance initiatives for people facing hardship throughout the world due to conflicts and natural disasters, from emergency aid to recovery assistance. JEN was recognized as an NPO in 2000 and became and "authorized" nonprofit organization in 2005. As of February 2015, JEN was offering assistance in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Haiti, Japan (Ishinomaki) and Jordan (supporting Syrian refugees).

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Summary of the initiatives that were held during the three-year period

Year 1
In the first year, JEN primarily sent volunteers to help schools that had been flooded by the tsunami. They helped to renovate the schools and reduce the burden on the teachers. Restoration had been behind schedule because of a lack of personnel, the delayed government response and the overwhelming nature of the emergency. But these efforts greatly accelerated the restoration of educational services. JEN's involvement also allowed the students to think about the future with a wider perspective, because they were able to interact at the time with adults who were not relatives or teachers.
Year 2
JEN extended its volunteer activities beyond schools. These efforts developed into initiatives that students actively participated in, such as planting flowers. JEN also offered dance classes and other opportunities to engage in physical activity, so the children could have fun and work off their stress and frustration.
Year 3
JEN added initiatives that were led by families and communities. The organization has become a part of the communities and has supported initiatives that help children to develop in both body and spirit. Through such efforts, JEN has helped to improve conditions for children in Ishinomaki by rebuilding the devastated community. It has also accelerated capacity-building efforts, while training personnel who will continue to assist with the recovery in the future.

Changes and memorable moments in three years of assistance

Aid programs for children
Five volunteers helped clean up Oginohama Elementary School. Maintenance at the school had come to a standstill after the disaster because the number of students fell to just four children. Due to their efforts, the volunteers were warmly greeted every time they made regular visits to the school. In particular, the visits gave the children an opportunity to participate as teams in ball games that had previously been impossible due to the small number of remaining students. Their participation in such sports rekindled their spirit, which has encouraged them to take greater initiative.
Flower Planting Project
This project, which was suggested by local middle school students, started when the local community, students and volunteers worked together as one. But they did more than simply plant flowers. The project helped the children to develop a sense of independence and accomplishment by encouraging them to actively assist in the region's recovery. The project ultimately provided more opportunities to rebuild the community. It encouraged local residents to get more involved in the recovery effort and promoted interaction with volunteers who had come from all over Japan.
Children's dance classes
One girl, a third-grade student, had become emotionally unstable and withdrawn due to the shock of losing her older sister to the disaster. Her concerned mother enrolled her in a dance class. The girl initially took part in just one out of every three classes. However, she gradually started making friends at the dance class. At the same time, she discovered the joy of dancing and took a greater interest in the lessons. She eventually learned to smile again. "It's fantastic that she's returned to being the daughter we knew before the disaster," her mother said.