An important part of Aid For Japan’s mission is to reach out to some of the orphans from the tragic events of 2011. While the charity aims to connect with these children through the annual summer residential courses, it’s also beneficial for the orphans to visit the UK when the charity can arrange it.
For children that have lost their parents, this is an important step that not only broadens their view of the world but also reminds them that the world remembers them.
This summer, Maria was one of the orphans who made the journey from Japan. Maria is one of the children that Aid For Japan has supported since the early days of the charity (as seen in this special TV coverage). As ever, Maria initially stayed with Aid For Japan founder Akemi and husband Richard who both did their best to make Maria feel at home.
For any curious teenager, it’s always interesting to take in the sights around London. On that basis, Maria and Akemi made visits to the National Gallery, Tate Modern and the ever-popular Harry Potter tour. But there was also time for shopping, which included trips to Piccadilly, Covent Garden, Camden Market and Old Bond Street. She was also lucky enough to get a tour of St Martins Art College and to take in a musical in London.
On this visit to the UK, Maria also went a little further afield to stay with a new host family for a brief period in Bury St Edmond.
Exploring food is also an adventure – and Maria managed to show off her own baking and cooking skills. As well as making lemon cake and brownies, she prepared a special Japanese-style hamburger dinner as a thank you to Akemi and Richard for looking after her.
On one particularly pleasant summer day, Maria was also treated to a special picnic in a London park. For a brief afternoon, it allowed her to enjoy the tranquility and peace of nature – and also to enjoy a tasty picnic lunch!
Although her UK trip allowed Maria to take a break from her routine in Japan, school work is still important and she diligently did her homework when time allowed. She even helped with the administration of the charity by assisting with the donation box cash calculations.
Maria, like so many of the orphans of the 2011 earthquake/tsunami, is faced with the memories of that tragic event on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to enjoy a few days in a different environment, which brings them happier memories, is an important step in the road to recovery.
Aid For Japan extends its gratitude to all those that have helped with activities this summer, including the host families and Akemi’s language students.