In the months after the disaster, countless volunteers rallied from around the world and came to Japan’s aid to help begin the long process of rebuilding. Whether by donating money, organizing events, or coming to volunteer, these individuals showed they truly care about Japan and about the people of Tohoku.
This is their story.
There are so many people who dropped what they were doing and dedicated themselves to Japan’s recovery. Many of these people even took it upon themselves to establish non-profit organizations aimed at connecting with and rebuilding Tohoku and its communities. SaveMiyagi.org raised funds that directly went to the Board of Education in Minamisanriku, and its founder volunteered in Ishinomaki City. Smile Kids Japan, which supports Japanese orphans, focused their attention on Tohoku following the disaster. Volunteer Akita had multiple operations ranging from cleaning up debris to delivering fresh fruit to those affected.
At the core of all of these organizations are individuals. All of these groups were founded by members of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET Program). What started as a love of Japan through teaching blossomed into a true friendship and commitment to the Tohoku region. These founders and many other volunteers have truly become friends of Tohoku. They are, in Japanese, Tohoku Tomo.