Student Volunteer Network | 福島県避難者生活支援・相談センター はあとふる・ふくしま

社会福祉法人 福島県社会福祉協議会 避難者生活支援・相談センター

Student Volunteer Network


Youthful Ideas Combine Through a Vibrant Network to Brighten the Lives of Others

Established by the Fukushima University Disaster Volunteer Center, the Fukushima Student Restoration Network aims to expand nationwide and help students across the nation improve their relief activities. The network is engaged in a vast range of projects, distributing relief supplies, shipping daily essentials to temporary housing areas, giving foot baths and running booths at relief events. “Above all else, our goal is continual support for the Fukushima refugees. Many obstacles are sure to emerge in the pursuit of that goal, but we can find the solutions together,” said Ms. Ayumi Takahashi about the strengths of the network. “Being able to learn different things from the same experience is a great plus. Even after a single foot-bathing event, the students from Fukushima University, the College of Engineering of Nihon University and the Koriyama Institute of Health Sciences all reflected on different areas. Having various points of view allows us to notice things we’d previously missed.”

To give a clearer picture of how the network gets involved, here are some scenes from the Namie O-bon summer dance (hosted by the Namie Town Hall) held on August 16 at Kitakansen Temporary Housing Area No.1, located in Hirano in the Iizaka district of Fukushima City. Students from Fukushima University lead those from Fukushima College, Nihon University, Osaka International University and Sakura no Seibo Junior College to help construct and dismantle the event site. Participants also ran booths, and livened up the gathering by demonstrating “Ganbappe (‘stay strong’) Exercises”, a workout anyone could try.

▲“Ganbappe Exercises” are a simple workout anyone can do to stay healthy.

▲Distributing dishes and utensils sent as relief supplies. These were very well-received, and vanished quickly. ▲This Vietnamese che soup was handed out free of charge. A Vietnamese exchange student showed how to prepare the sweet bean dessert, which was a hit for its “unusual” flavor.

“Whether we visit the shelters or temporary housing, people tell us it brightens their day just to have us around. That’s so wonderful to hear, and it motivates us to keep trying,” says Ms. Takahashi. She naturally looks forward to creating further events to bring people together, but also wants to invest greater attention to listening: “Each and every one of the people here has their own story to tell, and we want to treat those stories with care.” The more you do, the better you become. Let’s hope this vibrant network of students keeps working to bring cheer to everyone they can.

Fukushima Student Reconstruction Network
The network currently connects undergraduate and graduate students at 16 universities, two-year colleges and vocational colleges within Fukushima prefecture, allowing them to share information and coordinate their activities. Students in fields ranging from administration and social welfare to engineering and nursing join in the regular monthly meetings, which feature not just reports on recent activities but energetic discussions of new challenges and network operations. Pictured here is the third such meeting, held August 2, 2011 at the Fukushima College Ekimae Campus.