HANDs!: Hopes and Dreams for Miyako

How can the element of fun be possibly be integrated to something serious like disaster education?

This is where Iza Kaeru Caravan comes in. A disaster drill comprising of games, storytelling, toy exchange, and other fun activities for kids.

The event organized by Japan Foundation Asia Center as part of Hopes and Dreams (HANDs)! Project and Sanriku International Arts Festival took place in Miyako, a coastal area of Iwate Prefecture, which was hit by a tsunami in 2011.

HANDs! Fellows from Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand took part in the said event. Aside from the caravan, they also participated in the Miyako City Walk and Mapping, as well as a group discussion about creating a better future for Miyako.

In time for the anniversary of the Great East earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, the fellows likewise learned more about the disaster through a tour and a Memorial Ceremony.

The local tour guide said reliving memories of the disaster can be painful but she stressed its importance in raising awareness so we become more prepared in case such disaster happens again.

She added that the sea can bring about nature’s wrath taking lives. But being a fishing area, residents acknowledge the providence of the “mother sea” as they call it. A demonstration of nature as a hazard, a blessing, and a tragedy.

One of the HANDs! Fellows, Makoto Sasaki who initiated this effort is committed to making her hometown, Miyako, a better place. For her, this is just the beginning of greater things to come for the city.

Photo Credit: Shinji Yoshida and Carlos Ortiz

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Author: Ryan Bestre

Environmentalist. Teacher. Writer.

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