Strengthen Families

Local Community in Japan Unites for Turkey Earthquake Relief: Kiho Sano’s Story

Wairimu Mwangi
March 25, 2024

In a heartwarming display of solidarity and compassion, Kiho Sano, a Global Peace Women (GPW) Sunshine Family Volunteers (SFV) coordinator from Japan together with members of her community rallied together to support the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey in February 2023. They organized a flea market fundraiser that was held in November 2023, drawing support from across Japan.

The initiative garnered overwhelming support, with donations pouring in from team members, their friends and families, and even local businesses. Items ranging from clothing and accessories to toys, stuffed animals, stationery, and tableware were collected for sale, with some companies generously contributing to the cause.

Preparations for the flea market saw the involvement of neighborhood children, their parents, and youth volunteers, who gathered the day before the event to set up stalls and learn about Turkey's plight. Despite the chilly weather, spirits remained high as participants bonded over shared goals of lending a helping hand to those in need.

On the day of the flea market, volunteers braved the cold to assist with sales, forging friendships with nearby store owners and spreading warmth through acts of kindness, such as sharing juice and performing dances. Although the small scale of the market presented challenges in selling items, the sense of community and determination prevailed.

Reflecting on their experiences, participants expressed a deep sense of fulfillment and a desire to continue volunteering in similar initiatives. From a 40-year-old male participant who enjoyed the event and expressed willingness to participate again, to young elementary school girls who empathized with the earthquake victims and expressed a newfound appreciation for volunteerism, the impact of the initiative resonated deeply.

“I am heartened by the positive outcomes of this volunteer activity, particularly the involvement of "Family Volunteers" and the invaluable lessons learned by all participants. Through their efforts, a sense of kinship with those affected by the earthquake was fostered, transcending geographical boundaries and inspiring ongoing acts of kindness and support,” said Kiho Sano, the organizer of the event.

Despite the challenges encountered, the success of this flea market fundraiser serves as a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives in making a difference in the lives of others. At GPW, we remain committed to organizing similar events through our SFV initiative to continue our support for those in need, both locally and globally.