Here’s a snap shot of Sendai—6 months after the Great East Japan Earthquake:
Yasuko from HappyDoll traveled with our HappyDoll ambassador, Shiho, to one of the most affected areas in Japan called Ishinomaki in Sendai. The mission: Deliver HappyDolls to children in six different children’s homes! Here’s her story:
The first children’s home we visited is called Tenshi-en. Here, children between the ages of 2-18 live together. These children have either lost their parents or live apart from them for many different reasons. After the earthquake, the children survived on food rationed by the government and spent days without bathing. Only recently, they have been able to return to a “normal” life style with the help of the services provided by the Self-Defense Army.
We gave these children HappyDolls made by the children at Rutgers Church and JCC. The kids were very surprised to hear these cuddly messengers had traveled all the way from the States! It was truly moving to see these kids holding the HappyDolls in their small arms.
Even after the “HappyDoll Ceremony”, the children held on tightly to their “new friends” as they enjoyed other activities such as coloring. We know these HappyDolls are in good hands now.
These children received HappyDolls made by the children at Cape Fear Academy. Seeing the dolls, the kids screamed in excitement and started to play with their new toys as soon as they were passed out.The next stop was Ayashi Kindergarten, a nursery school in Sendai-shi. Although this area was less affected by the disaster, on the day of the earthquake and tsunami, the children were stranded in the school bus for hours, waiting for their parents to arrive. It’s hard to imagine what a terrifying experience it must have been for these children.
Too many orphans, not enough homes
One of the main issues these foster homes face today is having to turn away children. There are simply not enough foster homes to take in all of the orphans who have lost their parents due to the earthquake and tsunami. Even if they find housing for these children, it will take years to heal the psychological scars.
We truly hope that these HappyDolls will play its role in reminding the kids that they are not alone in this time of need, that someone is thinking of them somewhere. The messages of hope from the kids in the States have been successfully delivered to the children in Japan!
Many thanks to all of you who have created these wonderful messengers of hope:)”