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    Posted March 4, 2012 by
    Shichigahama, Miyagi Japan
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Japan one year later: What’s changed?

    More from cjoys

    Yarn making a difference


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     cjoys, an Australian living in Shichigahama, Miyagi, Japan, shared her personal story of witnessing last year's tsunami, but she also wanted to tell us about a project her mother-in-law started called Yarn Alive. Many people in the area are still living in temporary housing after losing everything in the tsunami. Teddy Sawka remembered the depression that so many felt after the Kobe earthquake in 1995, so she wanted to give the local women living in temporary housing something to do.

    The group gathers every Tuesday to knit and crochet and to talk about coping with the disaster and just to talk about life in general. 'This was an opportunity to give back to them something that they had lost but also to gather together and create a community so that depression and suicidal tendencies would not set in,' she said.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    Tsunami victims gather to knit and crochet with donated yarn, hooks and needles in a temporary housing community center.

    Teddy Sawka, an American expat organized the project out of concern for Tsunami victim’s emotional well being. “I heard that after the Kobe earthquake many victims fell into depression and some even committed suicide.”

    Yarn Alive was born out of a desire to help women living in temporary housing as a result of the March 11, 2011 tsunami. Most Japanese women have crocheted or knitted at sometime in their life; so Teddy thought that by providing yarn and needles and hooks, they would be able to knit or crochet again. Since, July 2011, these women have met almost every week.

    The first supplies came from America, but soon people in Japan also began sending yarn and needles and hooks. Yarn Alive has continued to receive donations from many places overseas and within Japan.

    Every week, the women are given projects to work on. The first project was to make small blankets which were donated to a group in Kessenuma who also suffered during the earthquake and tsunami. Since then, Yarn Alive has worked on a number of projects, which have also been donated, to other tsunami stricken areas. These women who were victims and received donated goods, found that it was a blessing to be able to help others.
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