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Aid For Japan 2020 : The Year In Review

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Braving a tough year…

2020 has proved to be a very tough year, particularly with the advent of the Covid-19 crisis. As well as having an impact on so many lives on a personal basis, it also affected businesses and charities, including Aid For Japan, who struggled to keep moving through the many months of the pandemic.

In March, Aid For Japan had planned to stage its annual fundraising event in London. This year marked the ninth anniversary of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami and plans were already in place to stage a commemorative event which would also be a celebration of Japanese culture. This was to have included a History of the Kimono talk, Fudokan Battodo martial arts display and cosplay activities.

Although the country had not yet moved to institute lockdown arrangements, decisions to cancel events were being made daily by venues, promoters and organisations because of the Coronavirus and the subsequent guidelines designed to combat its spread.

To safeguard the well-being of our attendees, supporters, venue staff and the public, Aid For Japan unfortunately took the decision to postpone the event for 2020. The charity is looking to reschedule for 2021, which will also coincide with the 10th Anniversary of the tragedy.

Prior to the issues that the Covid crisis brought to the country, there were still fundraising initiatives being staged to benefit Aid For Japan.

Last year, the students at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls in Elstree staged a Japanese cultural event to raise funds for Aid For Japan (see our previous report). This fundraising initiative was coordinated via the school’s Japanese Club, which regularly stages activities for the younger pupils on aspects of Japanese culture.

In December 2019, the students organised another event to help raise funds for the charity in the form of a Christmas Sale. According to Menaka, one of the students involved in the event, the Christmas Sale was a huge success. “We spent a long time making origami cards to sell and they ended up looking really nice, and we had an order system for people to buy personalised cards if they wanted. We also sold Hello Panda, iced tea, origami Christmas decorations, handmade bracelets and items which our teacher bought from Japan, such as sakura notebooks and Hello Kitty tissues!”

As a result, the Japanese Club raised an impressive £211.86 in total for Aid For Japan.

Every year, Aid For Japan arranges for Christmas presents to be sent out to Japan for the orphans of the Tsunami. This tradition continued in 2020. These gifts would not be possible without the kind support of the people who donate to the charity.

An important part of Aid For Japan’s mission is to reach out to some of the orphans from the tragic events of 2011. 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.

Next summer, the charity would like to invite two of the orphans, Manami and Yuto to come to the UK. Earlier this month, Manami passed her entrance examination to go to university. Gradually, the orphans have been rebuilding their lives in the years since the tragedy. You can help with arranging the UK visit for these children by donating to Aid For Japan.

If you would like to help the children in Japan, then please follow this link to donate: https://www.justgiving.com/AFJ-TsunamiOrphans

Much of Aid For Japan’s activities this year would not have been possible without the tireless work and dedication of the charity’s small team of volunteers and helpers. This includes Angela Shaffer, Sumika Hayakawa, Bree Van Zyl, Paul Browne, Richard Pennington and Shiori as well as all the other people that have assisted throughout 2020.

Aid For Japan would also like to extend its grateful thanks to the staff and students at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls and the Japan Centre. Thanks also to all those that donated or helped Aid For Japan in other ways throughout 2020.