News - March 29, 2011

Japanese students raise funds for their country

Japanese students and researchers in Wageningen started a donation campaign today in Forum. During the lunch break the students collected money for the victims of the earthquake and the tsunami that swept across Japan.

Japanese students in Wageningen were shocked at the disaster, says Asako Kawai, one of the organisers the campaign. The latest reports say that 28,000 people have died or are still missing.
'But the response from friends here was overwhelming. Many people called me or sent me emails to ask about my family. It gave me such a warm feeling.' The student chaplaincy organised a prayer for the victims.  
Many people helped to prepare the fund raising. 'Friends and colleagues from different countries helped us to make all these origami cranes. We have one big international team behind us', says Asako. Everyone who makes a donation, gets a crane as a token of thanks.
If you want to help out, you can do so tomorrow in Forum, on Thursday in the Leeuwenborch and Saturday at the Markt near the fountain.
Looking at the list of deceased
Makiko Take, 1 st year MSc International Development Studies:
'The communication devices don't work, so I have no direct contact with my family and friends in Japan. My aunt and uncle and their five children are missing. We think that they have been evacuated to a shelter in their village, but there is no trace left of the shelter. 'To get information, I go to a kind of bulletin board on internet. There I posted a missing person's ad with the name, age and a description of what they look like. People go to the area on foot to gather information and they pass it on. But I don't even know who they are, and I'm not sure whether the information is correct or not. 'Every morning I look at the list of deceased from the police department. The first time I opened it, my heart was beating very fast as I looked for the names of my family. But now I am just numb; I open them as a morning routine. There are so many deaths and there is no fuel to burn the bodies. They have now started to bury unidentified bodies, without us knowing who they are. 'I have gotten enormous support from my fellow students;  they have been so wonderful. Without them I couldn't have gone to class. Now they give me energy with their support. They are just so important to me, I can't even explain it.'