The Great East Japan Earthquake Support Activities

Volunteer Activities Vol.28

PhotoTen volunteers from ITOCHU Corporation participated in the "Third Children's Dream Summer Camp in Rikuzentakata," which was held from July 30 to 31. They supported the camp as persons from sogo shosha so that the children of Rikuzentakata would become familiar with different cultures and English and gain a global vision through games and sports.

Voice of participants

Experiencing the Significance of “Social Contribution”

I regularly looked at the various CSR activities pursued by ITOCHU on the company intranet and the in-house magazine, and out of a strong desire to actually take part myself, I applied to be a volunteer at the latest English camp.
Although it was a short two-day period, I was touched by the smiling faces of the children enjoying themselves as they pondered how to overcome the hurdle of communicating in English. I was also moved by the passion of the Japanese and American university student volunteers, who tried hard to develop the program and sometimes blended in with the children as they patiently interacted with them. It was also wonderful to see the delighted expressions of parents and guardians looking on as their children received completion certificates during the farewell, and to hear the touching words of gratitude for the ITOCHU’s reconstruction support activities expressed during the opening ceremony by Rikuzentakata City Council Chairman Ito. In all these things, I could get a sense for the significance of “social contribution.”
We also heard from Rikuzentakata Municipal Advisor Murakami about the current state of reconstruction and witnessed the ongoing leveling work in the district adjacent to the shore where the Miracle Pine stood, which have made the two-days full of valuable experiences.


Voice of participants

Visiting Rikuzentakata for the First Time in Five Years

After last visiting immediately after the earthquake, I visited for the first time in around five years to take part in volunteer activities in Rikuzentakata for the third time. Back then, a ship was still stuck on top of a four-story building, telephone poles and traffic signals were down and scars from the earthquake were present everywhere, but this time the area was cleanly organized without anything in sight, to the extent that you might wonder if this place really had been part of the infrastructure of people’s lives in the past. Meanwhile, I also got the sense that reconstruction is moving forward steadily, albeit slowly.
Through the various activities at this year’s Summer English Camp, I got to see the children gradually build up confidence in English, start to speak with large voices and smiles, and achieve some remarkable growth over the two-day period. While around five and a half years have passed since the earthquake, I think it is important that we continue to provide support in the future, and I really hope these activities are continued moving forward.


Voice of participants

My First Volunteer Experience

I was able to experience the wonder of volunteering as I spent two days working up a sweat running around with children in the disaster-affected region tackling English through games and sports, together with the Japanese and American university students happily teaching them English. Seeing children who felt somewhat distant at first coming together with the Japanese and American students around the campfire and picking up the mood, I feel as though I received a boost of energy from them as well. Moreover, although five years have passed since the earthquake hit, I witnessed the reality that reconstruction has not progressed that much. While I don’t have any past experience as a volunteer, based on my experience this time, I hope to actively take part in the future.


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