Japan’s Beyond Tomorrow visits Tacloban, comes out with proposals for youth sector

In Photo: Masahiro Kikuchi (left) and Minami Tsubouchi.

BEYOND Tomorrow, administered by Japan’s Global Fund for Education Assistance, completed a nine-day visit of the Philippines where its selected youth delegation came out with disaster risk-reduction proposals targeted toward the youth sector.

Global Fund for Education Assistance Executive Director Minami Tsubouchi said they have selected 15 youths from Japan, the Philippines and Nepal for the project.

“They went through a selection process, including essays and interviews.  We wanted those who have experienced disasters.  We believe the friendship they have built will have a big impact on society in the future,” Tsubouchi said.

Japan recently was devastated by a tsunami, while Nepal had an earthquake and the Philippines rampaged by a super typhoon.

The Philippines has six participants in the Beyond Tomorrow project with five of them coming from Tacloban, one of the hardest-hit areas of Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan).  Nepal had three delegates, while Japan had six.

“All of them went through different experiences.  Despair at one point.  They had grief then they started walking again.  And then their rise,” Tsubouchi said.

For his part, Masahiro Kikuchi, who is now a full-time intern at Beyond Tomorrow and whose parents both perished during the tsunami, said he is starting to understand that disasters have a great impact on lives.

“I thought I have recovered but recently it may not be the case anymore.  It is fine not to overcome it.  For sure, I will never forget the experience.  It is a part of who I am,” Kikuchi said.

During the nine-day visit, the group interacted and did volunteer work with the affected communities of Yolanda, examined their needs in terms of disaster risk-reduction and drafted proposals specifically in building socioeconomic resilience for future calamities.

Tsubouchi said that outside of Asia, they have presence in the United States, France and Germany.

She also said they work closely with the Japanese government.

Beyond Tomorrow, which was started in 2011, aims to provide the first step in building a platform for youths in the Asia-Pacific region to create meaningful voices for policy-making on disaster risk-management.

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