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Leader Training Participants’ Interviews

The second term of the training programme: Outdoor training in first aid procedures. (November 22 , Ishinomaki)
The first term of the “Disaster Relief Volunteer Leader Training,” in which 15 people participated from November 5-11, has successfully finished. From November 19, 13 participants also joined.

This report interviews two people who participated in the first term, sharing their impressions of the seven days.

First term participant: Mr Tadaki Yudai, 30 years old
Q: How have you been involved in disaster volunteering?
A: I first participated as a volunteer of the second regular group (dispatched by Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center). Then, from April to July, I was onboard Peace Boat’s 73rd Global Voyage as a volunteer interpreter.  After coming back from the voyage, I participated in activities in Ishinomaki a few times, and also went to Minamisanriku-cho as an individual volunteer.

Q: What made you decide to participate in the training programme?
A: I have been a team leader putting together my own group a few times during 1-week volunteer programmes.  However, I thought that learning across a wide range of areas would allow me to acquire skills that would also be useful in case of a natural disaster that is different from an earthquake or tsunami. I’m also thinking of getting involved in this area more deeply.  I also wanted to know how Peace Boat was taking actions to manage the “Ishinomaki Model” with other organizations such as the Social Welfare Council and the Ishinomaki Disaster Recovery Assistance Council (IDRAC).

Mr Tadaki (right) working with members of the temporary housing support team during the leader training.

Q: How was your experience participating in the training programme as a member of the first term?
A:Through the programme, I was able to learn about the role of disaster volunteers, and mental preparation as a leader from various angles.  The training actually took place at the site where support is continuing; consequently, being able to talk to staff members, assistant directors and volunteers who are in Ishinomaki long-term was also significant. Learning together as a team, I was able to make friends with whom I can continue to contact and cooperate in various scenes in the future. That might have been the best part of the programme.

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The first term: Okamura Midori, 19 years old

Q: How have you been involved in disaster volunteering?
A: I had time because the Japanese university I’m going to enter does not start until next April. I came to Ishinomaki as a PBV short-term volunteer in the end of September.  After that, I went back and forth, extended my stay and participated in this programme.
I belonged to a volunteer club at high school in New York, too, and had volunteering experience such as teaching Japanese culture and delivering toys to orphanages.

Q: What made you decide to participate in the training programme?
A: A girl I met in Ishinomaki asked me to join. I checked the contents of the programme myself and also found it interesting, so I decided to participate. We ended up joining the programme together this week. I wanted to learn about “leadership” and thought I could at least be someone who could be there to support, as long as I have some knowledge for what to do if something happens even if I can’t fully be a leader.

Ms Okamura exchanging opinions during case studies (November 11)
Q: How was your experience participating in the Training programme?
A: It’s no surprise that participants were all leaders since they were participating in this programme. Sometimes I thought it could be more difficult if there were too many leaders in a group! People who are unique or have strong characters were certainly gathered.  I believe there are various roles for “a leader” – some stand in front of everyone, some support from behind and some manage or coordinate.  When we had free time, we discussed things like “what makes a leader,” and I was able to learn different ways of thinking though these discussions.  I have tried to come up with an answer, but actually found that there isn’t an answer after all. I wonder how to make appropriate judgments as such occasions arise.  It was a very meaningful week, even though I sometimes thought my head would explode! I was also able to learn a lot from listening to the experiences of staff members who have been providing support at the site.
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The Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Leaders Training Programme gives practical training in leadership and disaster volunteering, undertaken at the actual site where support activities are taking place.

At the moment the programme is only available in the Japanese language, but please click here for more information.

All photos by Nakamura Mitsutoshi