“Flyjin” is new term that has been coined to describe foreign residents in Japan – gaijin – fleeing the country after the disaster.
I cannot blame them for choosing the safest possible option, I would probably do the same. Yet, today I read a story about this cool group of English teachers staying behind to help the community that had become their home, and it made my day.
Kyle Maclauchlan, an English-language teacher from the United States, has been working at Tagajo Junior High School in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, when the tsunami struck this small coastal town. Kyle lost all his posessions, and is currently couch surfing between his friends’ places, but decided to stay in Tohoku to help those who have supported him for the last three years.
“For the three years, everyone has been very supportive of me and they’ve been my friends,” he explained. “It’s tough to see things like the nuclear power plant situation. But this has been my home for so long and I couldn’t just leave.”
The coolest part of the story, though, is that he and his friends have set up a local charity Teachers for Japan, that aims to channel donations from overseas directly to those afftected by the tsunami in their town.
They are working to establish a PayPal system for direct overseas donations. To be honest, whilst I have donated to Red Cross and Salvation Army, I wondered how much of tht money would be lost to the administrative costs locally, here in Australia. Charity like Teachers for Japan is a great way to help earthquake and tsunami victims directly. 100% of donations will go toward the charity’s stated goals of helping to rebuild educational infrastructure and assist needy families.
Now, this is a charity after my own heart. Please check them out here – http://teachersforjapan.org/ – and stay tuned for when PayPal donations channel becomes available.