Japan Aftermath: Host Families, Supporters Needed for Japanese Mamas, Children
My neighbor, who has a lot of connections, friends and family in Japan, has been doing all she could to help with the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and resultant nuclear disaster there. She asked me to post this and my hope is the urbanMamas community may have resources to help.
My name is Camellia Nieh, and I am a Portland mama and a Japanese translator-interpreter. Since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that struck Japan in March, I have been involved in various relief efforts.
Our family recently enrolled with a group that helps families with small children or pregnant mothers seek refuge away from the disaster zone. The families seeking refuge may be currently living in shelters because their homes have been destroyed, or their homes may be intact but they are fearful of the radiation risks and are facing a difficult summer of keeping their children indoors during the summer heat to mitigate radiation exposure.
Some families seeking a placement are from the disaster zone or areas close to the nuclear accident, but even mothers in Tokyo are looking to get out of the country. Though radiation levels are lower in the Tokyo area, mothers there too are worried about the effects on their small children. Trace amounts of radiation have been detected in Tokyo mothers' breast milk, and reassurances that those levels are below the established limits for infants' exposure are of little confort. (Would you trust the government to tell you how much radiation intake is safe for a newborn?)
Our family is currently in correspondence with a mother in Fukushima with a 5-year-old boy. We are discussing having them stay with us in late summer, so that the child can play outdoors and get some fresh air. He has a skin condition that is worsened by having to remain constantly indoors, and outdoor activities for children in the area where they live are restricted to one hour per day to mitigate radiation exposure.
In the meantime, however, five other mothers with small children or babies in the Tokyo area have already e-mailed me asking if they can come stay. Even though their situations are not as dire as the mothers in Fukushima, their concerns for their children's welfare are very sincere, and it breaks my heart to turn them away.
If you have room in your home and are interested in hosting a family (usually just the mother and child, the father remains in Japan to work) in your home, would you please contact me? If nothing else, I would like to connect the mothers who have e-mailed me to other possible placements in Oregon.
If you are interested in learning more about hosting a mother and child from Japan, please register at http://groups.google.com/group/portland-families-supporting-hahako-ne...
OTHER FORMS OF SUPPORT:
Even if you cannot host a mother and child in your home, there are other ways to help.
--Would you like to volunteer your time as an aunt/uncle family or mentor? You could volunteer to take guests on outings/excursions, to help with childcare, carpooling, etc. This lightens the load of the host family and helps the guests feel welcome in the community. For visitors coming to a foreign country where they don't know anyone, the offer of friendship is perhaps the greatest gift.
--Do you have equipment in good condition you could lend to a visiting family? Items such as car seats, bicycles, bike trailers, strollers, high chairs, toddler beds, cribs, etc may be needed.
--Are you a childcare provider, pediatrician, counselor, etc who could provide free or discounted services to families that need them?
--Could you sponsor a bus pass, cell phone, or other such amenity that would make a visitor's stay easier?
Once again, to extend an offer of support please register at http://groups.google.com/group/portland-families-supporting-hahako-ne...