Refugees International Japan in 2011

By Jane Best, CEO


Thank you for your support in 2011. It helped to give Hope to thousands of people.

2011 was year of upheaval for thousands of people around the world, with the events in the Middle East, now known as the ‘Arab Spring’, as well as natural disasters. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused huge loss of life and major disruption to the lives of thousands, while other countries around the world were affected by floods and famine.

There were record numbers of people displaced by conflict, but it was not too protracted and many people have been able to return home since in Libya, Tunisia, Ivory Coast for example. The outlook for Burma is more promising than it has been for years but there are problems in the Kachin areas of the country.

Amongst all the bad news, the work of Refugees International Japan gives Hope and we can report the good news for the past year.

Refugees International Japan continued several partnerships with communities in Thailand, Burma, Chad, Uganda and Senegal. These projects are run by the refugees or IDPs (internally displaced persons); something that has proven successful year in, year out. The project leaders know what is best for their community and understand the cultural attitudes of the people involved. In particular, our funding targets youths who can play a major role in the programmes. Projects such as the DARE programme in camps on the Thai-Burma border, to reduce addiction and the associated violence that results. Mobilising the youth to spread the message gives them a sense of purpose and gains them respect in the community. We see similar results in Uganda where the school children are planting kitchen gardens and developing woodlots that will benefit the whole community.

In Chad we continued to support the Eye Clinics run by Christian Blind Mission. The clinics  benefit over 1,500 people and remind us that simple hygiene avoids most eye infections developing into chronic problems.

In July of 2011 RIJ started funding a new programme in the world’s newest country, Southern Sudan. The country still faces old problems of inter-tribal warfare but nearly 400,000 refugees have returned home since July hoping to rebuild their lives. Our funding provided training and the opportunity to start micro-enterprises.

With all our experience of funding community programmes, we sought to build similar relationships in Japan with communities affected by the tsunami. In October we began support to the Utatsu cho community in Minami Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, providing start-up funding for a tented market to revive the shopping centre destroyed by the tsunami. As with all our work, this is a community project, inspired by the community and for the community.
You can read more about the projects funded by Refugees International Japan on the website.

A big thank you to everyone who has supported us through a challenging year, be it financially, through services or as a volunteer. We could not do it without you.
A very Happy New Year!













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