japan’s bright lights

solar lights arriving in japanIntrepid Japan trips are now running as normal and our return to the country is helping local people get back on their feet. There are still many challenges for the northern regions and sincere thanks to Intrepid Express readers for supporting our appeal to bring light to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

Along with Intrepid’s donation of 200 solar lamps, an estimated 50 units were donated by Intrepid Express readers and all up 350 lamps (valued at US$5,250) were sent via Virgin Atlantic to Tokyo. Once arriving in Tokyo, the lights were then delivered to a local not-for-profit collection office, NPO, who form part of the coordinated Japanese response for supplies and equipment being sent to families in affected areas. NPO operates closely with the people most affected and managed to get the solar lights delivered as quickly as possible into the hands of people in need.

NPO’s volunteer teams distributed the majority of the lights in Shichigahama, in Miyagi prefecture. This is one of the areas most devastated by the tsunami, with a third of the town destroyed. In addition some lights have also been distributed in the Iwate prefecture.

Despite the difficult circumstances on the ground, we received positive feedback from the local people:
- Firstly, they are very appreciative towards the donors!
- The lights are easy to use even for children or old people.
- The lights are being used by hanging on the wall.
- The light is quite a lot brighter than expected.
- Best quality compared to other solar lights.

Because they have been so well received, there is now high demand for the lights. So many emergency goods are sold out in the shops across Japan and even on-line. Our friends at Illumination, who produced the lamps, say: “That whilst our campaign has officially closed, as the situation in Japan evolves we will continue to work with all our partners to explore ways to continue to provide lights to the Japanese people in the most effective way. We are very conscious of the fact that the effect of disasters such as this is felt much beyond the limited attention span of the world’s media. On behalf of the Illumination team, Virgin Atlantic and our NGO partners, thanks to Intrepid and Intrepid travellers for helping us make this small difference.”

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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