Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

“Smile With Kids”- Queensland welcomes Fukushima children for a much-needed holiday

Queensland’s Smile With Kids helping Fukushima children to rebuild their lives, ABC News, 

Fourteen-year-old Karin Hirakuri hasn’t been allowed to play outside since she was six years old and every time she goes to the supermarket, she worries her food could be unsafe to eat.

Key points

  • High school students from Fukushima exercise, play and spend most of their time indoors
  • Refresh programs in Australia give children the chance to connect with families and experience the outdoors
  • Some children are finding career inspiration through refresh programs

Growing up in Fukushima, Japan, after the catastrophic tsunami and the meltdown of four nuclear reactors in 2011, Karin’s childhood has been spent mostly indoors to limit her exposure to radiation.

She is one of eight high school students in far north Queensland this week with Smile With Kids, a not-for-profit organisation that pairs children from Fukushima with Australian host families.

The program began in 2014, inspired by other “refresh camps” that aim to give Fukushima children a week of outdoor activities.

“They can just come and enjoy nature without worry,” Smile With Kids founder Maki McCarthy said.

A highlight for Karin was sinking her feet in the sand and feeling the spray of seawater on her face at Palm Cove beach, north of Cairns, on Thursday.

“I wasn’t able to go swimming at the beach for five years,” she said.  “We cannot play outside in Fukushima.

“We have to play in the gym or in the house.”,,,,,,,,,

Families connect

Smile With Kids host Catherine Gunn has been accommodating Fukushima students for the past three years and said the experience had been eye-opening.

“It opens my world up,” Ms Gunn said.

“Also the reflection on how lucky we are in Australia.

“We’ve never experience anything like [the nuclear disaster] in Australia, we have a very free life.”…….https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-28/children-enjoy-nature-after-nuclear-disaster/11348602

July 29, 2019 - Posted by | personal stories, Queensland

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