11 November 2013
As I write, Mt. Iwate is capped with snow and the first snows have come to the lowlands. Now winter is upon us, and people hasten to put snow tires on their cars and get ready for the bitter cold of winter. Amid these busy affairs, horrific images of the damage wrought by the typhoon in the Philippines reach us by television, with the heart-wrenching scenes of children drenched in the storm, their clothes torn away, crying, teeth chattering with fear and chill. Where were they, we wonder, when the storm hit. There many similar scenes right here in Japan at the time the great tsunami waves hit the Tohoku area on March 11, 2011.
Children like those in distress in the Philippines are the reason we began this Ehon Project Iwate that year. They are reason we played the song “Hana wa saku” at the IBBY Congress in London in 2012 with English lyrics—urging our friends who share the task of bringing books to children to remember how they can help. We know how tragedy can engulf children anywhere in the world, at any time without warning. We also know that each child has to have the fortitude to live through such circumstances and has to have hope to carry on. We want to keep on doing what we can to support that fortitude and that hope. The recent suffering in the Philippines has renewed our commitment to this endeavor.
Just recently, some of the mothers of the disaster zone in Iwate have regained a measure of their former cheerfulness amid the painful memories they bear. And among them are those who tell us that the continuation of the Ehon Project Iwate has given them much encouragement and support. That explains why our project has spread to many other areas of the country. We are grateful to know that what we are doing is needed and helpful.
3.11 Ehon Project Iwate
5,843; total 232,696 books
Picture books distributed to:
321 locations (about 114,000 book)
Total funding for project support:
※This is the total of grants and donations received as of the above date.
From now on, the project will work to deliver picture books to the smaller evacuation centers and temporary housing sites. In many of the disaster areas, libraries, day care centers, and other facilities for children were destroyed, so it is difficult for local public services to house books.
In order to deliver books and reading services to children more flexibly and in more remote areas, we have started the “Ehon Car” project.