American Women’s Welfare Association has donated 800 million yen to welfare facilities in local communities over the last 40 years
April 29, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
On April 23, the American Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA), which has made contributions to welfare facilities in Okinawa, held a 40th anniversary ceremony at Kadena Air Base, inviting people who have accepted their donations. The total for donations from the AWWA has reached over 800 million yen. At the ceremony, Debi Panke, president of the AWWA, commented that she feels honored that the AWWA has been able to work for local communities for the past 40 years, and how she wants to continue the activities to help deepen exchange between Japan and the United States.
The AWWA was established by U.S. military personnel and their wives back in 1972, the year that Okinawa reverted to Japanese sovereignty. Running recycle shops and gift shops at five locations on the Kadena Air Base and elsewhere, they have donated the proceeds to welfare institutions that requested support. The facilities to which the AWWA give contributions are decided at board meetings held four times a year. So far, the association has used the donations to present massage machines and electrical appliances to welfare facilities for the aged and children. At the anniversary ceremony, people related to the Council of Social Welfare and Community (CSWC) in Uruma, Urasoe and Onna that has received contributions and gifts from the AWWA, attended. Kenko Nakayama, the president of the CSWC in Uruma, which was given a large automobile equipped with a lift, said, “People needing the lift car such as the elderly and the handicapped are pleased with it. We have named it Tida-sansan-go in the hope that everyone can continue to have hope, like the sun.”
Last June the CSWC in Urasoe received gifts such as projectors and wheelchairs, which are now used at orphanages and for day services for the elderly. The president Yoshio Akamine said, “I am very grateful for the AWWA’s kindness towards people in Okinawa.”
(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)
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