Thomson Reuters Tokyo Staff Volunteer Work at Ishinomaki, Miyagi
(Ikuko Kanno, Yumiko Miyano, Yumi Hasegawa, Mai Kato, Maki Suban, Machiko Sasaki, Kayoko Ishihara, Marcus Bagshaw, and Junko Ogura)
On 28-29 May, 2011, Vincent Lee from Commercial Operations and nine other staff members from Thomson Reuters Tokyo spared their weekend to help the victims of 3/11 natural disasters. With just their work gear on their back and a passion to help, they took a train trip up to the city of Ishinomaki, approximately 430Kms north of Tokyo to do some volunteer work. The city of Ishinomaki with an estimated population of 164,294 is one of the hardest hit areas devastated by the 9.0M earthquake and a tsunami of almost 10 metres high.
On his second trip two and half months after the event, Vincent saw notices posted on empty houses which were washed inland by the tsunami which read ”can the surviving owner of this house please contact the volunteer center at this telephone number below“. As you can read between the lines, the owners are still missing or presumed dead. The volunteer work is mainly to remove rubble, broken doors and furniture. Also there is still stagnant sea water and mud that needs to be cleaned out from all the nooks and crannies of these houses. The two days of volunteer work was truly enjoyed by all participants and they could feel the sense of challenge that faced by the people in those devastated areas to rebuild their homes and lives. This was not just ordinary volunteer work over the weekend but it was a team-building exercise. They also got to meet with other volunteer workers who happened to be important global clients of Thomson Reuters. They inspired each other and other staff members with their volunteer work.
The following weekend 4-5 June, our Client Specialist, Madoka Miyagi, and Hiroaki Kamahori from Media participated in the same volunteer work and this is what they had to say: “I could not see the view of the tsunami-destroyed town without tears”. However those tears did not go to waste. Tears turned into sweat and sweat swept away the rubble and cleaned those broken homes. The people of Ishinomaki deeply appreciated their volunteer work. It will take years to clean up those towns and villages devastated by earthquake and tsunami. The team would encourage anyone who could spare their weekend to do some volunteer work in those affected areas as they need all the helpers we can manage.
Vincent Lee is planning his third trip with another team from Thomson Reuters Japan on 25-26 June, 2011.