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The city and the people of Ofunato in Iwate Prefecture suffered devastating damages from the Great East Japan Earthquake. This video features 42 sixth graders from the Ofunatokita Elementary School who took part in the program, "Kitto Waraeru 2021," designed to help children in the Tohoku region overcome the tragedy. The children stood in front of the camera and shared their stories and dreams for the future. The "Kitto Waraeru 2021" program was modeled after Panasonic's Kid Witness News Program, which helps hone children's creativity and communication and teamwork skills through video production.
In the beginning, the children were unsure about taking part in the program. They weren't sure if they could find the words to describe the difficult times they went through. But by writing down their stories, they faced their feelings and discovered something they wanted to talk about. What was common in every child's story was the desire to express appreciation.
Using professional equipment, the children began shooting. Although they were timid at first, after a while they started to relax and have fun. This video report shows us how strong these children, who have overcome difficulties, are and how important it is to become absorbed in something.
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Ofunato city, in Iwate Prefecture was struck by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. You can see when you look at what remains of the city that recovery is still a long ways off. There are temporary housing on the grounds of the Ofunatokita Elementary School, and even though it has been a year since the earthquake, many people still live in these houses under difficult conditions.
When they heard about the project and how they will be asked to create a video as a memorabilia of their graduation, the children seemed to be a little taken aback. That is why the teachers had them write down their stories on paper, so that they could face and address their feelings. Through this process, they discovered what they wanted to say in their videos. They wanted to express their "appreciation" for all the people who have helped.
The children split up into teams of 6 and got to work. Sakutaro Oikawa, who volunteered to be the director, chose the spot in front of the temporary housing. He was quite meticulous in choosing a camera angle as well; he chose a position that showed the front and side of the temporary housing. He, too, lost his home to the tsunami, and he still lives in temporary housing. But his message was filled with appreciation for people across Japan.
Sami Komatsu ended up directing because they flipped for it and she lost, but as the shooting progressed, she began to exhibit leadership. She didn't forget to show kindness to her friend who was nervous about being on camera; she got her friend to smile and relax - a job well done.
Given professional equipment, the students take on various roles - director, cameraman, and microphone staff. They exchanged ideas, tried out different things, and they each took a turn in front of the camera. And they ended up with a video they will remember forever.
This video was showcased at a charity event held to help with recovery efforts on March 11 in Kanagawa Prefecture. Many people were touched by the words of appreciation these children who were afflicted by the earthquake expressed in the video. The students of Ofunatokita Elementary School are getting back on their feet, stronger than ever. And their video will certainly give courage to everyone who watches it.