TOMODACHI Alumni Disaster Resilience Training Program: Deepening Knowledge of Disaster Preparedness
The third TOMODACHI Alumni Disaster Resilience Training Program: Kobe Workshop took place from June 3 – 4, 2017. Begun in 2016, the training program will take place a total of 5 times. The program has three goals: to endow TOMODACHI Alumni with knowledge and experience of disaster preparedness; to prepare students willing to volunteer in disaster situations; and to give an opportunity to TOMODACHI Alumni to connect and work together. This was the third workshop after the first in January 2016 in Tokyo, and the second in July 2016 in Ishinomaki. 19 TOMODACHI Alumni from various regions in Japan participated in the Kobe workshop, more than half of whom experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake. Alumni who did not experience the earthquake participated with the resolve to prepare for the next potential disaster and gain the ability to take action. Nana Ishiwatari aspired to become a doctor after the earthquake and is currently studying medicine at Ryukyu University. She eagerly expressed her motivation by saying, “I want to learn about how to cope with disasters and want to bring what I learned back to the community at my university.”
On the first day, the participants visited the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution. They heard from the “Kataribe” (storytellers) who had experienced the earthquake, and learned about disaster resilience through related documents. The Kataribe indicated three main points that made Kobe vulnerable at the time of the earthquake: the weak regional community, the difficult life of people at shelters, and the limitations of the government.
In the afternoon, the participants learned from the “IZA! KAERU CARAVAN!” about ways that children can acquire disaster prevention knowledge while playing. Participants also received training on how to administer emergency first aid treatment using personal belongings. These experiences launched a brainstorm about ways to pass along such disaster preparedness expertise to the next generation. During the program, participants also set up temporary kitchens and pitched tents as part of an outside survival training exercise.
On the second day, Mr. Taiyo Okada, Vice President of Basic ph JAPAN, taught the students about stress management and psychology education. After the training, the participants divided into 4 groups and discussed what the TOMODACHI Generation can do to prepare and cope with potential future disasters. After the discussion, the groups presented their own solutions.
This program is a good opportunity to think about what one can do to help in a disaster and how to spread knowledge about disasters preparedness. Participants are expected to deepen and make good use of the knowledge they obtained through the program. This program was conducted with the great support of The Prudential Foundation.