29.04.2011 -

UNESCO-supported programme helps young tsunami survivors in Japan

©National Federation of UNESCO Association in Japan- Nakano Primary School in Sendai.

Over 7000 Japanese schools were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. In one case the tsunami swept away 70 per cent of a school’s pupils, leaving the surviving children in a state of shock.

One fifteen-year-old girl whose entrance ceremony to high school was scheduled in April, said “I was excited to start high school life in April. But the tsunami took every single item in the house including my new school uniform. Even the high school building by the sea was washed away completely. I am so worried and scared of what will become of me…”

The National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan (NFUAJ) has raised over a million euros for a programme to help rebuild the schools and restore normality as far as possible.

The UNESCO-supported programme started on March 14, three days after the disaster. It has three phases. First, NFUAJ will supply educational materials to teachers and learners; in the mid-term it will help re-stock school libraries, and in the longer term support child survivors who lost their parents in the earthquake and tsunami.  

Despite the existence of major fund-raising and relief campaigns, NFUAJ notes a lack of psycho-social support for young survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The federation is thus shifting from emergency to recovery assistance mode, with a focus on traumatic psychological care for children.

So far NFUAJ have raised over €1.2 million, of which €21.354,93 was raised on 10 April at a concert for Japan at UNESCO headquarters which featured over 100 musicians from across Europe. 

The NFUAJ was founded in 1948 and now has a network of 300 clubs and associations.


Powerpoint on the NFUAJ project, including “ the voices of the victims”

NFUAJ website

UNESCO Director-General appeals to support learners and teachers in earthquake and tsunami-affected regions of Japan




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