Door en voor mensen met een visuele beperking en hun omgeving
Of and for visual impaired people and their social environment
Tragedy Japan: Impact on Special Schools for the Blind
Message from ICEVI colleagues in Japan
March 11 14:46 was during school hours so all the blind students, teachers and staff members were safe in earthquake-resistant buildings located distances from costal area. However, like many other school-age children, there are blind students who lost their relatives or whose houses were washed away by the tsunami. (Hundreds of children in general lost their parents.) March is the end of school year in Japan but the blind schools in affected areas decided not to hold their graduation or year-end ceremonies.
At lwate School for the Blind, some students and staff members lost their relatives living along the coast. The school building was damaged, but the school is planning to open the new school year as scheduled in April. At Miyagi School for the Blind, like in Iwate, some students and staff members lost their relatives living along the coast. There are even students whose houses were washed away or smashed down. The school building was also damaged. Miyagi is the most severely affected prefecture, and the school will not be able to open its program until the last week of April.
At Fukushima School for the Blind, in the prefecture now famous for the nuclear plant, some students living not far away from the plant are evacuated to the neighboring Niigata Prefecture or even to Tokyo. Whether day students will have transport access to the school is quite uncertain due to lack of fuel and delay in resumption of public transport services. The school suffered damage of teaching materials and assistive technology equipment such as CCTV. (The earthquake shook very hard in north-south direction and so even if an institute is hundreds of kilometers away from the seismic point, equipment and materials may still be badly damaged.) Next to this blind school is a regular high school now used as a rescue center, and massage teachers are volunteering there as masseurs.
At Ibaraki School for the Blind, although the place is hundreds of kilometers to the south the damage is considerable in general and we still need some time until they have their public transportation back. Day students may not be able to commute to school after the school starts this week.
Contribute to The Nippon Foundation / CANPAN, Northeastern Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Relief Fund
The Nippon Foundation, which is closely associated with the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) in promoting higher education for persons with Visual Impairment in the East Asia region is at the forefront of assistance activities in support of those affected by the Earthquake/Tsunami of 11 March 2011 that hit the northern part of Japan. The Nippon Foundation is now accepting donations to establish a fund for the emergency relief/reconstruction projects. The donations can be made online by credit card on their following website: 

ICEVI constituency expresses its solidarity and support to the people of Japan at this time and we request our members to contribute to the above Relief Fund and also spread this message to their contacts.