～ Interview in Minamisanriku-cho, Miyagi 2011.11 〜
November 2011, after six months had passed since the great Earthquake and Tsunami in Eastern Japan, I went to the affected area in Touhoku, visited many people, and asked them “What do you need the most now?”
The answer was JOB.
I believe all of us can relate to this: The frustration from not being able to find a job… The fear from not being able to secure income…
They all told me that what they want is jobs not the donation. They all wanted to get their normal life style back, even in small portion of it…
So, I decided to create jobs in disaster area.
As soon as I came back to Kyoto, I created JOB CREATING PROJECT in Fumbaro Kyoto chapter and started developing products which I thought would sell regardless of the background. For those who suffered from the disaster, we decided to do everything from marketing to promotion. We developed products which mothers in the affected area can produce by sawing machines that we donated. We pack all the necessary tools with the fabric and other materials in a box, and send them along with the sawing instructions to the ladies in Touhoku.
We recruited the seamstresses among the ladies who had already received the sawing machines distributed by the “Sawing Machine Project”. Some ladies in the temporary houses in Baba, Yokoyama, Mitobe, Hosoura, Utatsu applied for the position. In 2012, this project get started with our first product, the 【ふ】（Fu) brand Cooking Mittens.
This project worked out in two ways: “Helping them to get Financially Independent” and also as a “Mental Therapy”. Focusing on their jobs and improve financial situation helped them getting back their hopes and dignity. That enabled them to rerise back out of the aftermath darkness that they were in for a long time. More than anything, those ladies got together and get their hands on the jobs. “We can do this if we give it a try!” “This is so much fun!” ; they got back their smiles for the first time after Tsunami took everything away from them. Until then, they confined themselves inside their small houses in the temporary housing.
So this change was really an epoch.
More ladies are raising their hands for the seamstress position. However, our capital is not so well off, so we are not able to make more orders for now. So, selling more products is the number one priority for us now. (Fu-Hompo, unlike other project, buys all the products from the seamstresses at once, not “one at a time when the products get sold”. This brings “Hopes for the Future” to the seamstress ladies, and “Heavy Sales Burden” to us. What a innovative and wonderful system it is! ♪)
The sales of this Cooking Mittens directly goes to the seamstress mothers as their income.
“Some people buy our product! We’re not forgotten!” :
that feeling, they told me, is the thing that gives them the vital energies to get up and live their lives again, for the one last time.
Please Buy One.