Oct 2012


“Intro to Disaster Volunteering” Begins!

Peace Boat is proud to announce the launch in September 2012 of the Disaster Volunteer Training programme, designed to help prepare for future disasters. This is a four-step program composed of both introductory and intermediate-level courses.

By hosting these classes around the country and offering online certification, we hope to provide as many people as possible with the opportunity to learn these skills and knowledge.

Paece Boat recently began travelling around Japan holding “Introduction to Disaster Volunteering” seminars in six cities — Miyagi, Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka.

Nine residents of Kanagawa prefecture came to the Yokohama seminar on September 22, and a recent Tokyo seminar drew twelve participants, each with different motives and backgrounds. A local student explained, “I volunteered in Minami Sanriku, but I want to learn more about the overall picture and how disaster support is structured.” Another participant told us, “When the next big disaster happens, I don’t want to just donate money; I want to know what I can do to help.”

The “Disaster Volunteer Elementary Training” seminar is built around the information taught at the orientation sessions for volunteers heading to Ishinomaki. However it is impossible to simply group all disasters together. As Peace Boat has learned through its work during the Great Hanshin Earthquake and other disasters since, the necessary relief activities change depending on the type of disaster and when it occurs. Thus, the seminars also cover issues that are common across many disasters, as well as important points particular to each disaster area.

It is of course also possible that seminar participants could personally be affected by a disaster. With the cooperation of the Japan Society of Home Economics, Peace Boat has put together information on what individuals can do to prepare in the event of a disaster.

Many workshops based around group discussions are also a feature of the training, to help participants cultivate their powers of imagination.

“Disaster Volunteer Elementary Training” seminars will be held in the Kanto region and across Japan, with the help of outdoor equipment maker mont-bell, which has supported our relief efforts during the Chuetsu Earthquake in Niigata, the Pakistan Earthquake, and the Great East Japan Earthquake. Peace Boat is currently looking into the possibility of holding 90-100 seminars at mont-bell stores around the country over the next year. In October, Peace Boat will also begin accepting applications for the renewed Disaster Volunteer Leader Training, which presents some of the same topics re-organized into a two-day class. Our goal in offering these training sessions is to instill in people the knowledge, preparedness, and decisiveness necessary to “help others, and protect yourself.”

For more information about Disaster Volunteer Training, see here (Japanese language).