Disaster Rehabilitation through Sports-AMDA Sports Project for Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
AMDA carried out the Sports Exchange for the rehabilitation of Japan Earthquake and Tsunami from Aug 2nd to Aug 6th 2011 in Okayama Prefecture. 46 junior high school soccer players aged from 12 to 15, and six teachers were invited from three different junior high schools of Iwate and Miyagi Prefecture. In addition, 123 students from four Junior high school soccer teams in Okayama Prefectures participated in this program. This soccer game was implemented in two styles including interscholastic tournament among six schools, and mixed team tournament with seven schools. One of the students from affected areas said 'Even Okayama Prefecture is far from Tohoku region, I deeply felt that people in Okayama are supporting us. I want to bring this experience to Tohoku region (affected areas) to let people know that we are not alone.'
This program aimed to deep the friendship and understanding between Junior high school students from affected areas and Okayama Prefecture in order to build solidarity towards rehabilitaion. The event uses "soccer" as a means of communication.
On Aug 2nd 2011, the event was started with a moment of silent prayer initiated by representatives of various religion groups such as Buddhism, Shinto, and Catholic from Religious NGO Network on Humanitarian Support (RNN), all participants prayed for victims of earthquake and tsunami and also for brighter future for young survivors who came to Okayama Prefecture from Tohoku region.
On Aug 3rd 2011, the students from Tohoku region traveled to Soja city in order to play in an interscholastic tournament between six schools. The preparation for the program in Soja city was handled by the Soja municipal government. Additionally, students stayed with local families. All of these families were comprised of players from the local soccer teams. Staying with local family was one of the most remarkable elements of this program in terms of the importance of communication. Students shared their thoughts and experiences regarding what happened and still happen in their areas with host families.
On Aug 4th 2011, the students traveled back to Okayama city and played in mixed team tournament. Through the mixed team games, students gained more opportunities to communicate with other students from different schools. On Aug 5th, students from Tohoku traveled to Hiroshima to learn the devastation caused by the atomic bomb. On the following day, they visited the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture.
Through the efforts of many supporters and volunteers, AMDA was able to organize the soccer program successfully in order to nurture relationships and understandings between students in Tohoku region and Okayama Prefecture.