Fukuoka International School (FIS) coordinated a relief program that sent a group of student volunteers and two team leaders to the Sendai region to assist in earthquake/tsunami clean up efforts. This was approximately three months after the March 11earthquake and tsunami. Our program was developed by FIS teachers and Business Staff in conjunction with Tohoku International School and Mr. Jason Ford, a resident, teacher, and dedicated volunteer in the Sendai area. This service learning project gave students the chance to directly interact with local citizens and support relief work in Japan.

The volunteer work consisted of debris clean up in the Higashimatsushima (東松島市) area while assisting a local resident, whose home diminished in the tsunami. We cleared out his warehouse, which was one of the few salvageable buildings in the area. We were also given an assignment by the Volunteer Center of Sendai in assisting a temporary housing complex that could house up to 140 families. Our work included the final additions of sheets, pillows, blankets, towels and futons being added to each unit prior to the families being handed keys to their new home. Though not as labor intensive it was very nice knowing that 140 families would finally be moving out of shelters and into homes.

Upon returning to Fukuoka, students dedicated the following week towards reflection and observation activities. Each student created a written essay reflecting on our work and what this meant to themselves and others. We based our reflective essays on a few essential learner outcomes.

How has the learner undertaken new challenges?
How have you worked collaboratively with others?
How does perseverance and commitment relate to this project?
What engagement did you have in a global issue?
Consider the ethical implications of your actions.
What new skills have you developed?
(*International Baccalaureate, CAS, Learner Outcomes)

In the following pages you will find a good deal of information regarding our trip. Within the student essays, you will specifically find reflective writing of our daily experiences that are also framed with one of the above questions. Thank you for visiting our site as we hope that our experience brings a true and honest presentation of our work in the Sendai area.

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