Six years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the majority of the affected people have moved out of the temporary houses. As they rebuild their lives, however, new issues are emerging that are different from those in the post-emergency era. The implementing organizations are adapting their strategies, as a result, to respond to these emerging issues. APRICOT continues to support the affected children and their families through the following two organizations in 2017.
NPO Heartful Family Care Association (ハートフルハート未来を育む会) in Fukushima
Despite the end of funding from Unicef, the association continues its flagship activities (Child-Parent Play and Parent Meeting) with the subsidies from the municipalities. Based on the clinical observations gained during the previous years, the association wishes to add a new focus on developmental disorders and Reactive Attachment Disorder among children. Underlying the increase of the children’s behavioral issues are their parents who are still under immense stress. The association, therefore, will continue supporting the family as a whole. The lack of child psychologists and psychiatrists in the region is making it very difficult to have accurate clinical assessments of children’s behaviors. Sometimes developmental disorders are misdiagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and vice versa. As early detection and accurate assessment are critical for an effective intervention, the association proposes to organize a training on developmental disorders and reactive attachment disorder for the public health nurses and the nursery teachers who intervene with children daily.
Budget: 840,000 yen
Team “Operation Rose” (チーム「バラ作戦」) in Iwate
The name of this group comes from the distribution of roses in Tanohata village in the aftermath of the disaster. The group members accompanied the public health nurses to visit the affected people to check on their well-being. The group has since expanded its activities to include the suicide prevention in the village. Every summer, the group cooperates with the public health nurses to host the “Health Festival,” where the group carries out mental health checks. As children express the signs of stress differently from adults, student members of the group organize a separate event for them. The original candle making, for example, which applies the techniques of play therapy, allows children to express their inner world in a small glass jar using marbles and shells. These activities are very well received, and the group wishes to carry them out again this summer. Although the members provide the service on a voluntary basis, the group still faces difficulty securing the funds as the cost of transportation to this remote village is very high.
Budget: 500,000 yen