Japanese tsunami recovery efforts at BC

The Japanese Support Team is having their fundraiser on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8 and 9. The Fundraising for The Victims of The East Japan Great Earthquake and Tsunami event is targeted to raise funds to be donated to the victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The event will take place in C -120 A and B on both days and it will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

On Nov. 8, the club is going to sell origami accessories that were made by the club members. On Nov. 9, the club will be selling Japanese foods such as rice balls, miso soup, green tea cookies, Japanese sweets and many others.

Akane Yamada, president of the Japanese Support Team, said that the club does not set an exact amount of money as a goal; they want to raise as much money as they can. Yamada added that in doing that, they would also like to share a small part of the Japanese culture such as its food and accessories to students at Bellevue College.

The Japanese Support Team is a philanthropic club originally created to provide social support for Japanese students following the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. According to Yamada the club is going to donate all of the money they made from the fundraising in March 2013 through a non-profit organization, Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (Children Without Borders). Previously, the club had conducted similar fundraising in previous quarters which attracted many BC students.

KnK is devoted to promoting friendships and supporting disadvantaged youths in Asia. KnK relies on donations from the public, private companies and organizations and from institutions. Yamada chose to donate the funds raised by the club through KnK because credible organizations and companies such as UNICEF, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Japan Airlines and many others support KnK.

A club member, Kana Takahashi, knows first hand how the situation in Japan was and currently is. She went to Miyagi, Tōhoku, Japan in the summer of 2011 to volunteer with a Japanese volunteer group. “I wanted to help the people who lost their families with whatever I could,” said Takahashi.

While in Miyagi, Takahashi volunteered to clear up debris and garbage that were covering people’s houses and land. Even though it has been a year since the earthquake happened, Takahashi believes that there are still some people who are struggling to rebuild their houses and regain their source of income. According to Takahashi, some of the earthquake victims in Miyagi are now trying to start a community business together. Takahashi added that one step students could take to help the victims to start their business is to donate through the fundraising.

Even though the Tohoku Earthquake happened last year, many people are still struggling to rebuild their houses and find jobs. “Come and support our fundraising. It would be a small step in rebuilding the dreams of many Japanese who were affected by the earthquake,” said Yamada.