LifeGivingForce Haiti Charity Campaign
In 2010 Haiti was hit by a massive earthquake, killing over 300,000 and affecting more than 3 million people. Unlike Japan, Haiti doesn't have the infrastructure or wealth to recover so quickly from such disasters and even today much of the nation is still defined by the catastrophe.
More than a million people live without a home or clean water, and there is the constant daily struggle to prevent outbreaks of cholera.
We at JapanTrendShop wanted to do something about this with the help of our valued customers. Having experienced a mammoth disaster ourselves in March 2011, the Haiti plight is close to our hearts. Water is one of the few natural resources Japan is blessed with, but this is not the case in other countries.
We searched for many weeks for a suitable means to make a difference in what little way we could and we discovered LifeGivingForce, an organization that helps build water-purification systems for communities in critical need of clean water.
JapanTrendShop, supported by donations by our customers and our own contribution, has funded LifeGivingForce's construction of a water-cleaning system in La Main Tendre in Port au Prince, Haiti.
Thank you for all your generous donations.
The water pump has now been successfully installed in its new home, the Agape orphanage housing around 50 children, aged from 2 to 15 years old.
It has been run by the same couple for generations. This is a very special little community: Some of the older kids have grown up there and then stayed on to help take care of the next generation of orphans.
However, the 2010 quake destroyed much of the building. It is now being gradually reconstructed by a variety of generous charitable organizations.
This was the previous water source for the orphanage.
With your support we have funded the installation of a new and safe supply for the children in late 2012.
OctoTrade would like to thank all our customers who helped us make this possible for the children of Haiti. And the kids say thank you too!
The Japan Trend Shop is run by a modest team of Japanese and foreigners living in Japan. We care a lot about our home and when the March 11th earthquake happened we decided to stay and try to help.
We committed to donating 5% of our sales to the Playground of Hope project and we can now confirm that we could eventually give the organizers 500,000 JPY (around US$6,500) of turnovers, generated by your generous purchases.
The Playground of Hope charity project cooperated with local businesses and organizations to collect funds for installing eco-friendly, cost-effective temporary play sets for the children in the regions affected by the March disaster. It was initiated by a very good friend of ours, who, as a successful foreign business entrepreneur and loving father himself, has devoted much of his free time for this wonderful project.
The large play sets are free-standing, wooden structures, purchased from the leading manufacturer of play sets in America who use materials from sustainable forests.
On April 1st, 2012 we attended the opening ceremony of the Playground of Hope play set in Miyagi prefecture. The spot is located in a neighborhood of the coastal town of Ishinomaki, a place hit and devastated to a great extent by the tsunami last year. Although we could see that building and clean-up efforts are going ahead at great speed, it is nonetheless still a dramatic landscape to look at, with destroyed houses and vast areas of nothing but sand and rubble where once stood family homes and shops stood.
Thanks to the efforts and strength of the remaining inhabitants, however, there is a sense of hope for a future, and we were honored to be able to support this together with our valued customers.
Our donated play set is located just at the border of the wasteland left from the March 11th tsunami, an area that was left mainly unscathed. It is on a private ground that belonged to an elderly lady who had lived there in a house which, though still standing, was heavily water-damaged. This lady then left her house and moved somewhere else, and she was kind enough to let her property for use by NPO projects.
There is one sakura (cherry blossom) tree there that also survived the tsunami and in its honor the site is now called “Sakura Koen” (Cherry Blossom Park).
Of course, we also planted many more trees that day so that it will continue to live up to its name even more in the years to come. Another planned project for the site is a greenhouse for disabled people to learn about growing and cultivating seaweed. One day there will be flowers, grass, benches and more, as the community is rejuvenated and regenerated.
Although it started raining during the ceremony, the kids still enjoyed playing on the play set, and we were impressed with the quality and the design of the construction. In spite of the damp weather, we went ahead with our barbecue of German sausages, and the nearby seaweed greenhouse could accommodate the around fifty guests.
Another highlight were the cars! Some friends of ours brought along their Ferrari for the opening. At first we were a little uncertain if this would be appropriate, but in the end we went with our gut instincts and acted on our own inner child. It proved the right decision and the kids and parents all loved the cars.
All in all, it was such a moving experience to see the play set installed and opened for the local community that we will be looking again at new opportunities to bring happiness, both long- and short-term, to the people of Japan, who on a daily base support us foreigners here with their hearts, patience and inclusiveness.
Previous Charity Projects
Octotrade Co., Ltd. also supported the Japanese Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders (Medicines sans le frontier) immediately after the March 11th crisis to help with the first urgent supplies. Some of us also drove up to the disaster areas, taking supplies and just trying to understand the situation. But, as you all know, charity is not just about the immediate aftermath and we are committed to continuing further long-term charity projects in the future.