>NPO: ON THE ROAD with FRIENDS- Looking for volunteers


The volunteer rate up in Tohoku has fallen quite dramatically following Golden Week. That was expected of course, but the sharp decline has left some serious manpower shortages for various projects. During Golden Week (May 2nd-8th) there were 54,100 volunteers up in Tohoku, yet only 24,100 volunteers for the week ending June 5 — a drop of nearly 45%. As a result, I will begin profiling various NGOs looking for volunteers over the next couple weeks. Feel free to post about others in the comments section. 

This week’s entry is about an interesting volunteer organization based up in Ishinomaki.

The group is called ON THE ROAD with FRIENDS. They are a Japanese NPO that seems to fall somewhere between Peace Boat and ALL HANDS in regards to their operational structure, and how they manage their volunteer teams. Before taking up the Tohoku cause, ON THE ROAD had set up school building, charity and food distribution projects in India and Jamaica, and their experience shows in how they’ve managed to set-up and scale-up their operations in Ishinomaki.

Their general project focus includes “cleaning fallen furniture due to the earthquake, as well as mud and debris that flowed into houses from the tsunami, preparing meals at the evacuation centers, and organizing and delivering relief goods…. Although participation for a long time would be preferable, even participation on the weekend or for a week would be okay.”
ON THE ROAD’s chief director, Ayumu Takahashi says that “Aid activities do not require a showy performance and demonstrations. All we have to do is to continue doing what we are requested to do silently and consistently on the spot. We are waiting for the volunteers who can work with us together with such a strong will.”
Volunteers with them are to camp out in the `volunteer village` that they have set-up on a camp ground near Tajiri station, in Osaki city, Miyagi prefecture.

Here is a YouTube video detailing some of the work that ON THE ROAD has been doing:

Their webpage is up at:  http://saigaishien.jp/ (for a regularly updated Japanese version) and http://saigaishien.jp/en/ (for the less-updated English version.)

Process of Participation

  1. Please apply via e-mail after reading the volunteer application guide below and agreeing to it. As we have to have some dialog by e-mail, apply with a margin of several days before your departure.
  2. After arrangements by the administrative office, we will report the duration when you can participate, guide for the volunteer activities, how to access the site, and other information via an e-mail within 24 hours. Please take a good look at it.
  3. Please make arrangements for transportation by yourself, and let us know the arrival date and time via e-mail.
  4. When you arrive at the site, you will start the volunteer activities after receiving an orientation and signing a letter of intent.

Place of activities

Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, and its surrounding areas

Period of recruitment

Between April 15 and June 30
*Depending on the situation in the disaster area, the period may be extended.

Though there is no limitation to the number of days of participation, the persons who can participate for longer periods are prioritized in principle.
First, apply with the information on the dates you want to participate.
After adjustment, we will inform you about the dates you can participate via e-mail.

Details of activities

Helping to clear debris and mud from the houses, nursing homes, factories, and structures destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. Preparing meals at evacuation centers. Organizing the warehouse and distributing relief goods sent from all over the country
*In addition, clerical work, jobs related to the operation of the volunteer village, and other tasks.

For further details on how to apply, including the contact email address, please visit their English page directly, at http://saigaishien.jp/en/

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