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Praying for Noto’s recovery through carp streamers, held “Children’s Festival”


AAR Japan (Association for Aid and Relief, Japan) and its partner organization, PEACE PROJECT (Representative: Ben Kato, AAR Director), held a “Children’s Festival” on Children’s Day, May 5, at Wakayama Elementary School in Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, which was affected by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake. More than 900 parents and children from within and outside the city enjoyed food stalls and games.

A carp streamer with "Go for it, Suzu City! " written on it is being hoisted into the blue sky

Carp streamers donated from all over Japan swim in the clear blue May sky at Wakayama Elementary School in Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, May 5, 2024

Since 2012, PEACE PROJECT has held an annual “Children’s Festival” in the Tohoku region (Northeast Japan), which was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake, with the hope of “bringing smiles to children’s faces.” This year, they had planned to hold the festival in Minamisohma City, Fukushima Prefecture, but the people of the city asked them to hold it for the children in Noto this time, so they decided to hold it at the elementary school where they have been providing soup kitchen immediately after the earthquake.

The venue was lined with food stalls offering yakisoba noodles, sausages, ice cream, as well as attractions for children such as super balls scooping and fluffy toys, and a bingo game tournament for families. Under a bright blue sunny sky, the venue was a great success, filled with children’s bright smiles and laughter.

Children are playing games

Children enjoying various attractions

A mother and her sixth-grade son from Nonoe-machi, Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, said that the water outage has finally been resolved recently, and they are now motivated to clean up their house which is messed up by the earthquake. “The elementary school where my son commute has been used as an evacuation center, therefore the children have very few places and opportunities to exercise outside. Playing outside in this way is very helpful, and it was a nice change of pace for both me and my son.”

Some of the survivors were forced to leave their hometowns after the earthquake and returned to Suzu City during the consecutive holidays. One of the two junior high school girls, who have been close friends since childhood, said that her family moved to another part of the prefecture after the earthquake. She smiled and said, “We have been apart for a while, but I am happy to play with my friends for the first time in a while.” Many people who had temporarily evacuated out of the prefecture gathered at the venue. The Suzu city, which had become quiet due to the earthquake, was once again lively for a while on this day.

Messages of encouragement for recovery written on a carp streamer

Messages of encouragement for recovery written on a carp streamer

At this year’s Children’s Festival, approximately 200 carp streamers donated from all over Japan, including the Tohoku region, were hoisted. The carp streamers were decorated with encouraging messages wishing Noto’s recovery such as “Go for it! and “Take your time, it will be okay,” and “Even if you lost your hometown, please don’t give up and hang in there”. PEACE PROJECT Representative Mr.Kato said emphatically, “I want to tell survivors that there are people all over Japan who are supporting Noto’s recovery. We would like to continue our activities that will lead to the better future for the affected people.”

Mr.Kato and children are playing bubbles

Mr.Kato and children enjoying bubbles

AAR is currently continuing to provide support to survivors living in temporary housing, welfare facilities for the people with disabilities, and foreign survivors in Ishikawa Prefecture. We would like to ask for your continued support for AAR’s Noto Peninsula Earthquake Relief Efforts.

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