Project Updates from Japan

Project Updates from Japan

Jeffrey_Mensendiek_1.jpgIt has been three years and ten months since the great disaster in northeastern Japan. Many people are still struggling to regain a sense of balance in their lives. Some are fighting for their right to live in peace – free of want and hardship. Our partners in Japan continue to accompany those who suffer. Global Ministries supports the following four projects.

The Emmaus Center

The Emmaus Center in Sendai, run by our partners in Japan, has been reaching out to tsunami survivors ever since the disaster. Because of the long and deep ties with churches in the area, Global Ministries was quick to respond with aid. More than three and a half years have passed, and some people have been able to move on with their lives. The Emmaus Center continues to walk with those still living in temporary shelters and those struggling to regain a sense of balance in their lives.

The Aizu Radiation Information Center

Following the nuclear disaster, local people came together with a common purpose; to protect the lives of children in Fukushima. Their base of operations is a former kindergarten building owned by the Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church (UCCJ). They provide many services to the wider public; 1) gathering and disseminating information, 2) building a support network for local people, and 3) being an advocate for those who continue to suffer under oppressive conditions.

Izumi (“Wellspring” : the Kyodan Task Force for Nuclear Disaster Relief)

More than 9000 former residents of Fukushima have evacuated to live in the city of Sendai. Many of these people are isolated and live in fear of not knowing what effects the nuclear fallout will have on their families. The Center aims to provide support to all evacuees living in and around Fukushima. Izumi provides 1) monthly thyroid tests, 2) medical consultations, 3) support group activities, and 4) fresh-air camps for families.

EIWAN (Empowerment of Immigrant Women Affiliated Network)

Supports immigrant women living in Fukushima who are often isolated in society and uninformed about how to protect their families from the dangers of radiation. EIWAN sponsors Japanese language classes for women in three locations in Fukushima. Participants learn about the dangers of radiation and are informed about ways to provide a safe environment for their children. Challenged both in linguistic ability and cultural awareness, women often find themselves dependent on others. This program aims to empower women to be able to protect themselves and their loved ones in post-Fukushima Japan.

Jeffrey Mensendiek, a member of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Berkeley, California serves Jeffrey Mensendiek serves with Kwansei Gakuin University in Kobe, Japan as Chaplain for the Center for Religious Activities. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples’ Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special giftsClick here to read more about the work of Jeffrey and the Kwansei Gakuin University.