A visual journey through the impact of the earthquakes that hit Haiti in January 2010 and Japan on March 2011, the joint response and sustainable recovery efforts. (more...)
Bicycle ride from Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince, New York and Boston. Bringing together the TEDx communities on these cities and raising awareness on the challenges and opportunities of innovation and collaboration. (more...)
Last intern in to make a blog post.It’s been a busy couple of days for Relief 2.0 in Tokyo getting ready for the exhibition at Fab Café, creating publicity materials (wonderfully created by Roxanne) and press kits, getting the layout all sorted out, coming up with reports and videos to document the work, bla-bla-bla-bla. But right now, in the cosiness of the Tokyo Share College (God bless this residence and its amazing inhabitants), with friends working beside me, the television tuned to an agitated commentator barking women’s football updates, my thoughts turn to the power of words.
A piece by my all-time favourite songwriter Jon Foreman once talked about how words define reality. For example, hope and tragedy. A village destroyed by a flood, a girl tricked and exploited into sex slavery, a family struggling to get their house and business up and running after an earthquake – tragedies. Hope: to believe in an unbroken world, a world that has yet to come into being, the belief that life could be better. These two words converge deeply, for “what is broken in the tragic presupposes faith in the unbroken totality.” (He in turned quoted this from Hans Urs Von Balthasar)
I met an amazing person in Fukuoka, Okamoto-san. He’s a Japanese who’s stayed in Kazakhstan for 14 years, he was back for a while and hooked us up with another great Sharehouse in Fukuoka (God bless the people there too). I headed down with him to Hita to help out in relief work for a day. He told me that the Japanese and Chinese character for people, ‘ren’, was written as such because it resembled a person pushing up another. People supporting each other when they begin to fall. Even in other languages, words help to shape the realities of those who use it. I saw ‘ren’ first hand in the mud-filled town near Hita: a couple hundred or so Japanese volunteers rolling up their sleeves to clear out the mud so that the affected could quickly ease back into normal life.
We surround ourselves with words; these words form the dialogue which define and change the window through which we see and affect the world. So, consider these words: empower, engage, equip, embolden, establish. These words form the dialogue of Relief 2.0 and social enterprises: not to provide short-term help, but to support the affected parties, empowering them with solutions to restore autonomy over their destiny. This the dialogue that springs hope from tragedy. This is the age of hope. We are in the thick of it.