Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief (140th report)
Official opening of temporary kindergarten facility in Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture

[OTSUCHI TOWN, IWATE, JAPAN, 30 January 2012]

On the morning of 24 January, Midori Kindergarten’s new temporary school building was completed and a commencement ceremony for the third term was held at the school’s new building. Midori Kindergarten is located in Otsuchi Town, Iwate Prefecture. As one pillar of its assistance for preschool-age children affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and in response to requests received from local governments in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) has promoted assistance for constructing temporary facilities and conducting major repairs to existing preschools and kindergartens. Midori Kindergarten’s old building had suffered flooding up until its second floor, and it had been borrowing space to conduct classes at Otsuchi High School.

The damaged old building

Childhood is an important period in a person’s life, as it is when the foundation of his or her character takes shape, and kindergartens are important places where children not yet old enough to attend school can learn. It is thus imperative to develop and make available such an environment for children. With this in mind, after JCU received requests from Iwate Prefecture, Otsuchi Town and Midori Kindergarten, we decided to provide assistance for the construction of a new temporary school building for Midori Kindergarten.

The temporary school building.   Students and their parents arriving at school.
The principal speaking at the commencement ceremony.

An advanced tour was provided for the parents on 24 January, and parents brought their children to the new building so that they could see the new building together. Due to construction the new term started about a week later than usual, but the children were thrilled to see their old friends and the grand new building.

At the school, the children told the JCU staff, “I’m happy to see my friends again,” and “The new building is so big and beautiful!” The temporary building was constructed in an inland area with rich natural surroundings. Once the ceremony was over the children played and ran around in the snow-covered schoolyard before going home.

All photo credits: © Japan Committee for UNICEF

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