SHU DUAN ONG
SINCE a devastating earthquake and tsunami plunged Japan into a deep crisis, it hasn’t been easy for the Japanese community in Curtin University to watch a part of their country be reduced to debris and people struggling to move on each day.
The National Police Agency has already confirmed 11,102 deaths and many more are still missing.
Japan’s government has also said it will cost as much as 25 trillion yen ($309 billion) to rebuild the country and according to the World Bank, it will take up to five years to recover from the damage caused.
With more than 250,000 survivors now homeless and sheltering in evacuation centres, donations are much needed.
And that is why the Japanese staff at Curtin have organised their own fundraising event for Japan, with the help of the Curtin English Language Centre and the Guild.
Student volunteers held “sausage sizzles” and collected donations on campus for two days, raising $748 in only four hours.
The Japanese believe that making a thousand origami cranes, along with the same number of prayers, will grant a wish for recovery.
Department of Asian Languages lecturer Dr. Hiroshi Hasegawa says most students can’t resist getting cheap lunch on campus anyway but upon learning the aim of the fundraiser, they didn’t hesitate to make a small donation as well.
“I really wanted to make the fundraiser possible, so without thinking much, I just went ahead with it,” he said.
“Even if we didn’t raise a lot of funds, it’s okay as long as students understand the situation in Japan and how to help.”
Although $748 may not be much compared to what other large-scale fundraisers can do, anthropology student Koki Inomata says it’s not all about the money.
Koki’s family lives in Miyagi, one of the worst tsunami-affected areas, but thankfully his family is safe.
“I’m not sure how they are coping with the massive damages to the society but I assume everyone, including my parents, must be doing their best to make a recovery,” he said.
He feels his father should be working even harder lately as a policeman while his mother, as a psychotherapist, must be caring for victims of the disaster right now.
He is impressed so many people are stepping forward to help out and feels that supporting this fundraiser is one sure way he knows he can contribute while in Perth.
Dr Hasegawa hopes more fundraising projects can be made possible through students’ initiative in the following weeks.