The Big Heart Project

Date: 15 April 2013

The YMCA Big Heart Project is the survivor-support creation of the YMCAs of Japan reaching out to people still suffering from the major earthquake that took place on March 11th 2011. The earthquake resulted in a 15 metre high Tsunami, disabling the power supply and cooling systems of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. The consequences as we now know were catastrophic. Today, two years on there are currently over 300,000 people still displaced.

The Effects on People
The statistics are overwhelming with approximately 110,000 people still living in prefabricated housing and 190,000 people relocated to government-rental accommodation.  Many people lost family members and many more still can’t find jobs to support their families. Children were left traumatized and under the constant stress of unstable living conditions. Indeed, stress and social problems have been identified as one of the main causes of ill health there today.

The Big Heart Project Events
Through collaborative activities and programmes, the Big Heart Project aims to secure people’s quality of life in different stages. Children are being provided with opportunities to play outdoors with the Morioka YMCA running monthly outdoor activities and weekly soccer programmes. The YMCA Ishinomaki Support Centre delivers a ‘Singing Club’ which is successful in attracting senior citizens in temporary housing communities.  And last but not least, the Sendai YMCA Volunteer Support Centre (located in the most populated city in the affected area) has allocated volunteers from all over Japan to support the farming and fishing industry. An accumulated number of 4,000 volunteers and 38,000 beneficiaries have participated in these programs to date.

As cooling systems failed on the first day of the accident, radioactive releases to air were inevitable and outdoor activities by children living within the 20-30km radius around the plant have been limited ever since.  YMCAs have provided outdoor camping programmes to other parts of Japan providing much needed space and fresh air to help strengthen children’s immune systems. Over 5000 children have participated so far with the number still growing!

The Big Heart Project aims to raise as much awareness as possible within the global community of the on-going rehabilitation work and the challenges still faced by people in disaster-affected areas. The Big Heart Project Facebook Page will keep you updated on the YMCA programmes in Japan plus further information can be found on their website.

The Big Heart Project asks you to donate for YMCA programs in aid of those affected:

Name of Bank: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, LTD
Name of Branch: Yotsuya Branch
Account Number: 0111494 (Ordinary Account)
Swift Code: BOTKJPJT
Branch Number: 051
Address of Bank: 3-2-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0004, Japan
Payee Name: The National Council of YMCAs of Japan
Payee Address: 7 Honshio-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0003, Japan