“God has been using homeschoolers to help the needy,” reports Hiro Inaba, President of CHEA Japan, one of the main homeschool associations in the country that suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami three-and-a-half weeks ago. “We have had more urgent calls from our members who have been supporting the urgent needs of victims in [affected] areas. CHEA Japan has been supporting those members through food, money, and other basic survival resources.”
|In Fukushima, CHEA Japan delivers food to a doctor who continues practice in an indoor-confinement area near a stricken nuclear power plant.|
In a country with a population of 130 million, the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 displaced more than 400,000 people.
“There are about 80 member families of CHEA Japan in the Sendai area,” Inaba told HSLDA. “Most of them are safe, though some families needed to be evacuated from their homes. We have not been able to contact some of families who may have been evacuated from the nuclear power plant area.” Sendai is the closest major city to the earthquake’s epicenter. Inaba had been in Sendai for 10 days in late March, bringing food to people in the evacuated areas who have lost their homes.
Many of Japan’s thousands of homeschooling families who have been personally affected by the earthquake and tsunami are reaching out to help others in their communities. Many Christian organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, and Food for the Hungry are also providing relief. These organizations have been using local facilities at the MeySen school as a hub for coordinating support work for victims.
The disaster has also had a direct effect on CHEA Japan.
“We will postpone our 12th CHEA Japan Convention in May, because of the nuclear power plant disaster,” said Inaba. “Even in Tokyo, the government has warned about polluted water. The railway system has been restricted because of lack of electricity. Three-to-four-hour trips by foot for people to get to their workplaces when trains are stopped by the blackouts are not uncommon. For obvious reasons, we will also postpone our annual summer camp in Sendai, which usually has around 300 CHEA Japan members in attendance.”
Inaba states that the Japanese government has covered the major cities with relief relatively well, but that many rural communities are still struggling. Homeschoolers are reaching out to individuals in these communities.
“CHEA Japan is a nationwide homeschooling support organization whose aim is to foster the homeschool movement in Japan,” explained Inaba. “We are not a professional rescue organization. However, support for the victims is still very urgent, especially in rural villages and communities, and it is our heart to reflect the love and care of our Savior and to help the victims in any way we can. So, we have been responding to those in rural communities through the homeschoolers in Japan.”
HSLDA is coordinating with CHEA Japan to provide funds for relief efforts.
Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s Director of International Relations, encourages families around the world to consider supporting homeschoolers in Japan through a donation to the Home School Foundation’s International Fund.
“Hiro and CHEA Japan are doing a great work to respond in a compassionate and timely manner to those who have been tragically affected by last month’s earthquake and tsunami.” Donnelly said. “As you are able, I encourage you to help homeschoolers in Japan—and enable homeschoolers to help others—through prayer or a financial donation.”