Human Rights

Buy a heating pad for Japan's Tsunami Survivors

(Kairo heating pads being distributed.)
Thousands of people who survived the tsunami on March 11, 2011 still live in temporary housing units in the Northeast Tohoku region. The temporary houses are small box-like trailers with some families living in 300-square-feet of space. This year’s severe winter weather has prompted Japanese nonprofit Project Fumbaro to fundraise for disposable heating pads to help these residents who may not have suitable heating in their housing units. This fundraiser is not only meant to keep people warm, but also to continue to give them hope.
(Temporary houses covered in snow this winter.)

Jonie Quimino and Christine Hitt visited the Tohoku region in September 2012 and met with Fumbaro Kyoto chapter representative Chiyoka Ajimoto (pictured left, below) on-site in Minamisanriku, an area that was completely wiped out by the tsunami. Ajimoto works directly with the people of Minamisanriku to help them understand they have not been forgotten. When Quimino and Hitt visited, Ajimoto had just completed a fundraiser to help the fishermen in the town. Donations were used to supply the fishermen with new buoys and fishing net weights. What many people do not realize is that while the earthquake and tsunami occurred two years ago, many survivors are still coming to terms with their losses and continue to need support in many areas. “Not being forgotten” is what countless people and survivors conveyed repeatedly, says Quimino and Hitt.

Chiyoka Ajimoto presenting the buoys, that were provided through donations, to the fishermen.(Chiyoka Ajimoto, left, presenting supplies, that were bought using funds raised, to the fishermen in Minamisanriku, Sep 2012.)
Witnessing firsthand the impact that these donations had, Quimino and Hitt decided to help with Project Fumbaro’s efforts, along with other people from Honolulu, by extending aloha from outside of Japan.
Project Fumbaro’s goal is to raise enough money to give heating pads to as many people as possible in the tsunami-devastated regions to last them until spring, which is the end of April. One disposable, and wearable, heating pad costs approximately $11 and each has a lifespan of 16 hours. With your donation, you’ll not only be helping someone directly and personally affected by the tsunami get warm, but you’ll also be giving people hope and letting them know that they are not forgotten.
For more information on Project Fumbaro's efforts, visit their website at (in Japanese).

Thank you for your generosity. Mahalo nui loa.

Uganda gay rights activist David Kato killed

27 January 2011 Last updated at 08:10 GMT - BBC News

A Ugandan gay rights campaigner who last year sued a local newspaper which named him as being homosexual has been killed, activists say.

Police have confirmed the death of David Kato but say they are investigating the circumstances.

Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay next to a headline reading "Hang them".

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, with punishments of 14 years in prison.

An MP recently tried to increase the penalties to include the death sentence in some cases.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) quotes witnesses as saying that a man entered Mr Kato's home near Kampala and shot him twice in the head before leaving.

Mr Kato died on his way to hospital, they say.

HRW called for a swift investigation into Mr Kato's death.

"David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community," said HRW's Maria Burnett.

The activist with the Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) group had campaigned against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which appears to have been quietly dropped after provoking a storm of international criticism when it was mooted in 2009.

Following a complaint by Mr Kato and others, a judge in November ordered Rolling Stone to stop publishing the photographs of people it said were homosexual, saying it contravened their right to privacy.

Several activists said they had been attacked after their photographs were published.