Update on Cocoro Ria’s Work with Tsunami Victims

Many of you know about our work with Cocoro a Japanese charity founded by Takiko Ando (below, left) in 2011 to provide aromatherapy and positive touch and creative activities for the adults and children affected by the tsunami.


Just over a year ago, the charity supported the foundation of Cocoro Ria, a team of local people from the tsunami destroyed area who have been trained as Aroma Care Workers to offer the comfort of massage to others in their community.


Takiko Ando, founder of Cocoro Charity, says: “The Aroma Care Workers are working and studying very hard. They know that their work is very important to the local people and this motivates them to keep adding to their skills. I am so pleased that they have the energy to continue.”


Massage for Elderly People

It is often the elderly people who ask for massage from Cocoro Ria and they find that the sense of community that has been built up in the temporary homes has become very special to them. However, over the coming year, some temporary houses will close and local people will be rehoused away from each other. One of the temporary homes, Ryori Kurotsuchida Kasetsu, will close in March and Cocoro Ria are planning a small party later this month. Whilst the elderly people living there are pleased to move to a better house, they are concerned about the future and hope that they can continue to have regular massage in their new homes.


Until recently, the ACWs mainly offered massage to those people still living in temporary accommodation as it is easiest to access. They now realise there those victims living in their own homes are also suffering from trauma and depression. So the Cocoro Ria team have been visiting them and offering the comfort and peace of a massage.

Takiko Ando says: “It is lovely to hear that sometimes they spend hours after the massage talking to the people and listening to their stories.  One ACW is trained to teach body stretching exercise and she sometimes combines this with massage. They have their own newsletter and share information and ideas with each other. It is very rewarding to see how they are becoming creative and confident in their work. We have many new projects and ideas to boost the moral of the local people.”

150130_103807The Heartfelt Project

The elderly people and the ACWs are always so happy to know that they are supported by many people from around the world. All messages of support and photos are really appreciated. It cheers them up and gives them hope for the future. You can find out more about how to help with the Heartfelt Project. Mary Atkinson, UK representative of Cocoro, is always happy to visit your local group to give a talk on the work of the charity and even share some positive touch activities such as story massage!

Mary and Rhoda




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