Nakahodo sets up a support project in Finland to keep people from forgetting the Great East Japan Earthquake

Nakahodo sets up a support project in Finland to keep people from forgetting the Great East Japan Earthquake

       Ayano Nakahodo

December 11, 2011 Yuki Nakasone of Ryukyu Shimpo

It has been nine months since the Great East Japan Earthquake. Efforts to help victims of the earthquake still continue today. An Okinawan woman studying in Oulu City in Finland worked with seven other Japanese students to make a charity event a success. Also here in Okinawa, to help keep people informed about the disaster, evacuees living here have held meetings calling for strong measures to deal with radioactivity and have given lecture presentations reporting on the situation in the disaster areas.

The person behind the running of a successful fund-raising event in Finland, Ayano Nakahodo, a 26 year-old prefecture-sponsored exchange student from Nago, has been studying education at graduate school in the University of Oulu in Finland since September 2010.

On October 20, eight Japanese students including Nakahodo held a charity event in the university called “Dream Project.” The deputy mayor of Oulu City, the University of Oulu, and several companies became sponsors and a total of 300 local citizens and students visited the event venue, raising a total of approximately 5000 euros (about 500000 yen). This money will be donated to Sendai, a city with which Oulu City has concluded an agreement on industrial development.

Nakahodo heard about the earthquake when she was on a trip to Norway. She then saw graphic images on the Internet of towns being swept away by the tsunami, and thought “I must do something for Japan.” With other seven Japanese students at the university, in April she set up a planning committee for the “Dream Project” and started preparing for the event. Many people offered to help, and in the end as many as 50 people joined in to work on the project.

The event consisted of four parts, “joy,” “anger,” “sorrow” and “pleasure.” Students sang and danced for the each theme. Nakahodo was responsible for the “pleasure” section. She translated and recited poems written by children in the disaster-stricken areas, and sang. “I have liked singing and dancing since I was a child. My enjoyment of music was something I got from being brought up in Okinawa and I think I was able to use that to good effect in the event,” said Nakahodo.

She will complete her course at graduate school next May and then return home. “When I get back to Okinawa I would like to participate in events to assist disaster victims and also to visit the affected area,” she said, indicating her intention to continue helping where she can.

(English translation by T&CT, Shinako Oyakawa and Mark Ealey)

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