The Kohitsuji (Little Lambs) Camp in Taiwan series, which began in January 2014 with an invitation from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and an offer of support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), held its sixth and final camp in Chaghua County, southern Taiwan, April 2-5.
The six camps were attended by a total 195 people: 161 children and parents residing in Fukushima, who were seeking an opportunity to spend even a short time away from their radiation-contaminated environment, plus 34 staff persons. The first camp was held in Chiayi County (hosted by PCT’s Chiayi District), the second in Yilan County (Qixing District), the third in Tainan County (Tainan District), the fourth in Taitung County (Tungbu District), the fifth in Hsinchu County (Hsinchu District) and this time in Changhua County.
At each event, the campers received from the host district and churches a wonderful welcome that far exceeded their expectations and were able to play with abandon in the unspoiled splendor of nature. On the second day of the final camp in Changhua, the Kyodan hosted a special thanksgiving service at Yongfu Church, at which Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo delivered a message of thanks and PCT General Secretary Lim Hontiong offered warm words of response.
This program, which arose in response to the East Japan Disaster, became an important support activity for survivors of that catasrophe, which transcended the boundaries of Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan.
Also, at the PCT General Assembly that preceded the final camp, Kyodan General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo included in his message some words of gratitude on behalf of the parents and children who attended the camps and presented a certificate of appreciation to the PCT. This heartwarming scene was immediately uploaded to the PCT website, together with a detailed commentary.
The Kyodan extends sincere thanks to the PCT and UMCOR for the partnership and support that made this three-year, six-camp program possible, and we pray that the collaborative three-way relationship nurtured through this project may be strengthened even more in the days ahead. (Tr. DM)
—Iijima Makoto, executive secretary
East Japan Disaster Relief Projects
Relief Planning Headquarters
３・１１東日本大震災救援対策本部担当幹事 飯島 信