Tsunami survivor program aims to ‘recover hope’

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A NEW program aims to provide “respite and a holiday” in Canberra for young survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Australia Japan Society (AJS) ACT President, Peter Materne, says the Tokoku Youth Program will see two Japanese teenagers and survivors of the disaster “explore Canberra and have their first taste of Australian culture.”

“We are proud to be launching this program which has been made possible through generous donations by the Canberra community and significant fund raising efforts by the AJS ACT,” he said.

“Both of these children lost their parents and have horrific memories as a result of the devastating tsunami that destroyed their town of Ishinomaki on 11 March 2011.

“We will never know the terror that Naoki Takayama and Miki Sasaki have been through, but it is our wish that this program will assist them, and many more young people similarly affected, to recover the hope in their lives.”

The program, which runs throughout this week, will include visits to Daramalan College, Farrer Primary School, Melrose High School, Canberra Grammar and Canberra Girls Grammar by Naoki and Miki who will meet with students and receive “friendship quilts”.

Mr Materne says the AJS will aim to “continue in its efforts to raise funds and assist in providing support as an expression of our solidarity with the Japanese communities of the Tohoku region of Japan”.

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