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HOME NEWS 【COVID-19】 Resident-centered Community Building - POSKO (Part 2)

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2021/05/31

【COVID-19】 Resident-centered Community Building - POSKO (Part 2)

Cocochaya is a community-based organization that uses different gathering spaces including a bakery and a renovated house introduced in Part 1. Soon afterwards, another hub became a relief item distribution spot.

Ms. Tomoko Sonoda , the head of Cocochaya, used her garage to store relief items sent by her friends across Japan and distributed to community residents. This hub eventually also became a gathering spot for the community. "People who had nowhere else to go, carrying trauma started gathering," Ms. Sonoda recalled. "Some stopped by in the evening when things started quieting down." The relief item distribution was completed in March 2021. The garage is now being used for a craft workshop where community residents and those from the outside can gather to create hats, aprons, arm covers, and other cloth items.

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"Cocochaya's activities help bring community members together during non-emergency times and create relationships that can help during emergencies. Community organizations like Cocochaya are key players in resident-centered disaster reduction and recovery activities," said Mr. Masaharu Murai, an advisor of NGO Collaboration Center. Building on his experience during the Great Hanshin Earthquake, Mr. Murai has been supporting resident-centered disaster recovery and reconstruction in affected areas across Japan. Ms. Sonoda and Cocochaya's members continue their work with the support of Mr. Murai.

Instead of trying to take large steps from the start, we can begin by helping people nearby and exploring what can be done as a community. With the help of various people inside and outside of the community, people can support each other by making the best use of their experiences. These are the important elements in building a strong community.

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On weekends, Cocochaya helps organize a marketplace in front of a miso factory. Working with the owner of the factory, Cocochaya is aiming to draw in young people's voices to contribute to building a community. Cocochaya also plans to introduce an art class at a renovated house. Their resident-centered activities have just begun. In May 2021, Civic Force launched an NPO Partner Project with NGO Collaboration Center to support Cocohaya and compile the best practices of disaster response activities. Please click here for more details.