Please donate; please help us to support mother and baby victims of East Japan Great Earthquake.
About ‘Baby Smile Ishinomaki’
Baby smile Ishinomaki is an aid organisation formed for the victims of East Japan Great Earthquake on 11th March 2011, by a mother of two who is also an victim of the disaster having to have had experienced the earthquake and tsunami while pregnant with the second baby (the older child was two years old at the time).
Our aid focuses to support the pregnant women and mothers with babies up to pre-school children who were living in neighbouring area of Ishinomaki, a costal fishing town in Miyagi prefecture where a devastating damage was done.
After the disaster there were shortages of goods including baby’s milk and nappies. Many donations were given from all over the country but Ishinomaki did not have an organisation to receive and organise such donations nor a network to distribute goods. Hence people who really were in need were left unaided.
So many pregnant women, postnatal women and mothers with young children were desperate to protect their children in an environment with terrible hygiene, without enough water and food and without appropriate medical knowledge or support.
Hence we have created an organisation for families with pregnant women and young children living in Ishinomaki, Onagawa and Higashimatsushima, in order to be the main recipient of aid sent us and we make sure that this is distributed or used accordingly.
Ishinomaki after the disaster
Ishinomaki is a costal fishing town in Miyagi prefecture, north east of Japan. Hence after the great tsunami following the huge earthquake, so many lives were lost, many houses are squashed and washed away along with cars and everything that people owned in their life or had in town. The whole town was gone. People who have managed to escape the tsunami only had what they were wearing at the time and currently many are living in a temporary housing taking a refuge.
For such mothers who are living with children in a temporary housing expresses feelings such as; “ feeling of great loss” “anxiety over finance and means to live” “feeling claustrophobic as living spaces are very small” “stressed over the effect of the noise my child would make on neighbours as the walls are so thin” etc. Hence these mothers are under a huge stress and child abuse is also a realistic concern.
Our support activity
To avoid isolation of mothers from the society and to encourage a healthy parenting we have following activities and events for the local mothers with young children:
-“Oyako-bics” (name made up using Oyako = Parent & child + (aero)bics)
All the above activities are to encourage a parent and a child to be able to enjoy physical interaction through music and rhythm.
We also have regular events focusing on the healing on the mental emotional level as most people have experienced a huge trauma and still struggling to live with it as well as to move on from it.
Through these activities, the bonds between the local people are strengthened and a friendship between the mothers is born, leading to a formation of a community. As a community, it is much easier to stay connected to the rest of society. This will avoid fragmentation and isolation of individuals especially those who are alone with children.
We aim to become a support organisation, acting beyond “the distribution of aid goods and donation” but also prepared for an emergency situation with the focus to protect the life and the living environment of pregnant women and mothers with children.
So this is the reason why we need your help. If we have more funds, we can build wider support network for more pregnant women and more mothers and carers of children.
Please support our aid work through donating, so that we can protect and bring up new lives while we keep our painful loss as strength in our heart.
Baby smile Ishinomaki representative: hiroim Araki