Japan: One Year Later
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Japan: One Year Later

A letter from Alan & Harriet to those who supported rescue efforts


Dear Friends,

When a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on March 11, 2011, we immediately contacted Grand Circle's regional office in Japan to determine how best to help. Associates in Japan enthusiastically recommended Ashinaga, a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization.

We asked for your help in supporting Ashinaga, and we were overwhelmed by your response. Some 1,357 travelers, associates, Trip Leaders, and Program Directors from around the world donated $173,086 to the cause, and we are so grateful to you for doing so much to help children in need.

We'd also like to bring you up to date on how Ashinaga has responded to the triple catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown.

Named for Jean Webster's 1912 novel Daddy-Long-Legs—the well-loved tale of a girl growing up in an orphanage—Ashinaga has a 40-year history of providing financial and emotional support to children who have lost either one or both of their parents or guardians, or whose parent or guardian suffers a serious disability. Today, it operates a number of programs, including high school and college scholarships, residential facilities, summer camps, and "Rainbow Houses," where children can play and share their feelings with other children, under the supervision of trained staff.

Following the earthquake and tsunami, Ashinaga dispatched workers to the hardest-hit areas to identify and support children in need of psychological support. Three days after the event, they also provided emergency relief grants, which have since been increased twice. A grace period for repayment of educational loans was implemented. And plans are underway to build a Rainbow House specifically for children who suffer the sudden loss of a parent, such as in an earthquake, based on the organization's understanding that these children are at an increased risk of emotional, economic, and other issues.

We are proud to support the mission of Ashinaga—and proud of all of you who stepped forward to join us in this effort.

Warm regards,
Harriet & Alan

Featured in our March 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.