Twenty children residing in the most contaminating areas of Fukushima will spend part of their Summer in Italy, in Pietra Ligure (Savona) at the “Orto dei Sogni” (the Orchard of Dreams). They will be welcomed by students of the Department of Asian and North African Studies at Ca’ Foscari.
For the sixth year in a row, the non-profit Japanese and Italian association collaborating with Ca’ Foscari organizes a Summer camp for the children of Fukushima: a month in a clean and serene environment, far from nuclear radiations to improve their psycho-physical health and enhance their immune system.
The students from Ca’ Foscari will intern and previous interns will come back as volunteers to work with the kids throughout their stay. Andrea Vella, in his last year of the Bachelor Language, Culture and Society of Asia and Mediterranean Africa, tells us his story: “I applied for an internship in 2016 and spent a month with the children of Fukushima that Summer, in Sardinia. It was a great experience and this year I am back as, like other former interns, I became a member of the Association Orto dei Sogni. Those who want to commit in the project must grasp the scope of the initiative that goes way beyond the linguistic training. The aim is to help children who cannot leave the house to play because of the radiations. In just a few days at the Summer camp you can see physical and emotional improvements thanks to the open air activities”.
Giulia Cavicchioli, Ca’ Foscari and Oxford alumni and PhD candidate at UCL, studies how Japanese society changed after Fukushima. She will embark in her third Summer Camp, as a member of the association. “These kids are not used to spend much time outside and not to worry about what they eat. They live in contaminated area and their parents often measure the radiations of the ground with their Geiger counters before allowing them to leave the house. After a month in Italy, one of the few ‘nuclear free’ country that offers such free of charge opportunities, the medical examinations show great improvements.” Giulia, like Andrea, thinks that for interns or volunteers “it is not just a work opportunity but mainly an opportunity for personal growth. The children of Fukushima have experienced terrible life challenges have developed a maturity beyond their age and have a lot to teach us”.
The collaboration with the association “Orto dei Sogni” is one of many social solidarity projects Ca’ Foscari has been part of since the events in Fukushima. Between 2011 and 2017 there have been initiatives regarding academic research, translation, education and many international collaborations have been established, including the event Ca' Foscari per il Giappone which brought about a fundraiser of more than 25.000 EUR for the prefecture of Fukushima.