TOKYO (majirox news) – “It breaks my heart,” wrote British Chamber Commerce Japan, (BCCJ) volunteer driver Dru Taylor on the Wecare Web site. “The main reason we do what we do is the thought of our own kids going without food, especially fruits and vegetables, and especially after going through what the people in the north have been through. If anyone can help please, please contact me.”
Taylor posted on Wecare after hearing of the plight of 330 school children that had not received fresh fruits or vegetables since March 11, when an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis struck the Tohoku Region in northern Japan.
His request was among many on Wecare’s Web site bulletin board seeking help for Japan’s disaster victims. Webcare acts as the conduit, coordinating and providing information in English and Japanese for those affected by the disaster and those who are in a position to help.
BCCJ Managing Director Lori Henderson said, “In order to catch the small things that were falling through gaps in aid, the BCCJ started the www.wecarejapan.org site in response to the BCCJ Disaster Forum, held on March 31.”
It took a while for the site to take off because many NPOs and NGOs had their own internal communication platforms, and the general public assumed that everything was being taken care of, according to Henderson. However, that proved not to be the case.
These days the BCCJ gets many responses from donors on average 24 hours after posting. Webcare is also on Facebook and Twitter, both of which provide opportunities to extend its global network of donors.“NPOs were carrying out well-defined first and second-tier relief activities,” Henderson said. However, the BCCJ was still receiving reports of communities and individuals outside emergency shelters who were struggling to survive on little or no food and required basic items.
“The BCCJ sincerely hopes that working as a complement to larger relief programs, www.wecarejapan.org will allow seekers of aid to find relevant offers of support, ultimately extending our reach beyond national boundaries and language barriers.”
Henderson added, “Even the smallest donation can make a huge difference to the lives of survivors in Tohoku.”
Water, food, and clothes and other items are sent to the stricken areas because of the information exchanged on Wecare’s Web site. In fact, radishes, potatoes, and oranges have piled up in the city of Minamisanriku since May. Now, there’s a young mother who has posted a message that she needs bunk beds for her two children currently housed in a two-tatami mat room.
Henderson aims to satisfy the demands of the victims suffering in the stricken areas, a situation changing every day through the efforts of the site. In addition, thanks to the people that responded to volunteer driver Taylor’s request, the 330 school children recently received their fruits and vegetables.