Heartfelt Letter from Japanese Charity

Here is a letter from Nobuko who has been trained by Cocoro Charity to offer comforting massage to the local people. She tells us why it is so important for the charity to continue its work in the tsumani devastated area of North East Japan.

Dear People who support Cocoro Ria,

I would like to thank everyone who supports Cocoro Ria.

The media, such as newspapers, TV, and radio, return to the tsunami and report the situation in the area just before 11th March. Every year this publicity puts me in emotional turmoil.  However, as a local person in this area, I feel that it is important for our sadness, pain, and chagrin to be shared.

Two years ago, I trained to be a member of Cocoro Ria so I could offer hand, foot and back massage to local people. I started to work as a volunteer in the Kurojitta temporary houses in Ofunato city. The temporary houses were closed last year. At first I thought my job was done, but  after the closure, I met a  93 year-old lady, who had lived in the houses.  “I was always looking forward to having a massage every month and meeting people,” she told me, “Young people go for a work during the day, so I am always alone in here.”

The other day, in the supermarket, I met another 70 year-old lady, and she said “Our new houses are much better than the temporary houses, but hearing no sound from next door makes me very isolated and lonely. I miss people now. Aromatherapy was a great mental help.”

People have always thought that leaving temporary houses would be the goal – and they would feel better about the losses in the lives. But the reality was it was just an another start.  People are now struggling to build a new community.

I realized I needed to CONTINUE!

I was able to start up doing massage again in Ofunato city together with Ms. Fujikura, Ms.Tsuda, and Ms. Konno.  I knew there were many people who did not lose their houses and were not able to have any mental health care since the disaster. Most of the charity help was concentrated in the temporary houses so these people did not have any emotional support. This is the reason why Cocoro Ria is special. We are the local people, so it is easy for us to find those people who could not speak up until now.

At this moment, we have 20 Cocoro Ria members, but there are only about 5 members who can work at daytime during weekdays.
It is a good sign many people started to have a job, but we need more members to continue our charity work. I feel sorry that we are being supported by donations for such a long time, but touch and aromatherapy oils make people smile. It is a special experience for them. It helps to make a community and helps people to talk together.

We have a strong will to continue this wonderful work,and I would like to ask your warm support. Thank you very much.

Heartfelt Project

Would you like to show the local people that you still remember them? We’ve set up a Heartfelt Project as a way of showing you care. All you need to do is send a photo of yourself holding a red felt heart, a symbol of your support. This simple gesture means so much to the local people – it will be greatly appreciated. You can find out more here: Heartfelt Project for Cocoro.

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