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Find A Reason To Say Yes

Leadership Matters May 2011 Issue No 48

It's only two months since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on the 11th of March. As quick as that wall of advancing water came and swept away entire communities it disappeared, and so to it seems to be any knowledge we have of those left behind and their ongoing struggles. We can measure a disaster in the number of lives lost, or property value which has been destroyed but an equally significant measure; particularly from a disaster recovery point of view is the number of survivors who require assistance or some type of immediate and longer term intervention. How many schools, hospitals and homes have been destroyed and how many people are now without homes and families are all significant measures.

The reports that I have received from the Miyagi prefecture, Sendai and Fukushima area is that the humanitarian crisis is far worse than what is reported and in spite of the strength of the Japanese economy, many victims will suffer long after the event if history repeats experiences from other disasters in the country.

What the scope might be for Hand Across the Water to assist in the area, I don’t know. That is in part why I am heading to Japan in a few weeks time. To remain in Australia and with the passing of time, the events of the 11th of March will slip further from my thoughts. Without going to visit the devastated regions I will remain ignorant of those who remain in desperate need and ignorant of the scale of loss and destruction. I could choose to make excuses as to why I shouldn’t go or why Hands should not get involved. I could choose to point out that Japan has the third strongest economy in the world and suggest it is up to other people to assist. I could also suggest that our work is in Thailand alone. But for the work of the Hands Across the Water team and the many hundreds of supporters, the lives of children at Baan Tharn Namchai would be significantly different today. It's not an exaggeration to say that there are children living at Home Hug in Yasothon, who would not be alive today, but for the presence of Hands Across the Water.

There are many reasons not to go to Japan and get involved in any recovery work over there. There is a question as to who is responsible for assisting the Japanese? Does Hands have the capacity to entertain taking on a new project of similar scale and amongst similar destruction as we did in 2005? What about from a personal capacity point of view, is there room for something else?

There are countless reasons and excuses no to do it. There will always be many reasons why we can't or shouldn't do something, without even really exploring the opportunity.

However, by going and exploring and gaining a better understanding of the needs that exist right now in Japan, there is a chance that we can make a difference to the lives of some kids who find themselves in the similar position to those living at Baan Tharn Namchai who in 2004, experienced a frighteningly similar occurrence. That opportunity seems reason enough to go and get a better understanding of the situation.

Sometimes it's about finding a reason to say Yes.

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