Please take 5 minutes to watch this video before reading my post, make sure to watch to they very end:
It’s been more than a month now since the tsunami destroyed the lives and washed away entire cities in literally a matter of minutes. As somebody with a personal connection to Japan and directly with Miyagi, Japan, I’m still heartbroken and I am not sure if I will ever really get over this. What I am feeling is nothing compared to what those still over there are feeling. We don’t know what is going to happen with the nuclear plant in Fukushima, but I do know that the news is taking a lot of attention away from where it needs to be now: the people of Northern Japan. For probably 99% or more of the public, there is nothing we can do to help the nuclear power plant, but everyone can donate a little to help the victims in Northern Japan. Some numbers to consider:
- 13,456/14,851: Confirmed deaths and still missing.
- 100,000: Number of estimated orphans from the tsunami. They didn’t just lose their parents and families, most lost EVERYTHING (yes I know typing all caps is like yelling and annoying). All of their possessions. Some don’t even have anything to remember their families by. Some don’t even have their own hometown anymore. Please take a moment to think about that. Think about literally having everything you own, everything that is important to you, taken from you 7 minutes from now, without warning.
- 4 days: The donation totals after 4 days, Haiti–150 Million, Katrina–108 million, Japan–23 million. After two weeks, Japan had received an estimated 161 million, 11 weeks after Katrina, 2.7 billion had been privately donated.
- 309 billion: Estimated damges, Japan 309 billion dollars, about 4 times the estimated damages in Katrina.
I mentioned the orphans, but many families, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, are in very similar situations. Those lucky enough to have escaped with their lives, a lot of them have lost everything else. Again, I ask you to think about losing everything that is important to you and furthermore, if everyone in your town lost everything as well. Whether you are kid or an adult, how do you cope with that? You can’t by yourself. You need others to help. Time to be honest. I’m not saying that prayer isn’t helpful nor denying that prayer can be very powerful, but your prayers aren’t enough. If prayer was all that was needed to get things done, the world would be a lot better off. Please continue to pray for Japan, but if you haven’t found another way to help besides prayer, I beg you to consider finding a way donate to Japan. Japan needs our help. Even if it means you don’t drink your daily coffee for a day or two (or week) or one less drink while going out, maybe share a meal with somebody one day, anything you can afford to send to Japan will be helpful. There are so many easy ways you can save a few dollars to donate.
I am especially asking photographers to help. I think it is fair to say that almost all professional photographers use equipment from Japan. Japan has given us the tools we need to make a living doing what we love. Photographers, please give back to Japan. There are so many ways you can do this. How about you take the money from the next print you sell and donate that to Japan. If all photographers did something similar, the impact would be huge.
Even with my poor spelling, grammar and writing, maybe I have convinced somebody to donate to Japan. So where should the money go? Please just don’t go donate to the first group you find. Do some research. Make sure that the place you are giving to has a specific fund for Japan where 100% of the funds are guaranteed to go to Japan. Charity Navigator does a great job of explaining what you need to take into consideration before donating. Many have reached out to me to ask where I have personally donated to. I recommend you find something you believe in from the link I just provided for Charity Navigator or the google link, but with money I have collected through March Madness for Japan and The First Friday Raffle and Auction for Japan and other personal contributions, here is where I have sent our money:
- Save the Children
- Operation Blessing
- Direct Relief International
- Project Kokoro
- The Sun Will Rise Again T-Shirt
I don’t have children yet, but I do have a wife and my family. If my wife, sister, mom or dad, lost everything, and I had to choose only one between having you, pray or donate some money to help them somehow recover, I’d pick the donation. Of course having both is best, but again, I don’t believe that your prayers are enough to help with such a catastrophic and dramatic event. I challenge you to ask yourself the same question, if you had to only pick one, which one would it be? The time to help is now.
My heart, thoughts, prayers and donations will continue to go to Japan and I humbly beg you to consider doing the same.
*steps down from box*