1095. Akemi Solloway Tanaka
Akemi Solloway Tanaka, from London, is the founder of ‘Aid for Japan’ a charity set up in the wake of the devastating 2011 tsunami to support children who lost their parents during the tragedy.
The 2011 Tohoku earthquake is the most powerful earthquake to have struck Japan and the resulting damage and tsunami killed almost 16,000 people, leaving thousands of children uprooted and without parents. Akemi, the daughter of a samurai family raised in Japan who now lives in London as a Japanese cultural lecturer and Japanese language teacher, decided to fundraise to provide ongoing support to the children and their carers affected by the tsunami. Thanks to her fundraising, the orphans are able to attend summer residential programmes where they can build confidence and make new friends. The charity also arranges care packages filled with toys, books and food that are sent out to the orphans and their carers.
Akemi’s award coincided with the visit to the UK from Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
In a personal letter to Akemi, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through ‘Aid for Japan’ you are helping children who suffered the devastating loss of parents and loved ones in the Tohoku earthquake to rebuild their lives. Thanks to your tireless fundraising efforts, the charity’s residential programmes are ensuring that these young people can regain their confidence and reach their potential.”
“I am honoured to receive this award. I am Japanese and without English people’s help and support I could not keep the charity going. This award is for all the people who helped me. I really wish that all the orphans of the Tsunami will have a happy life in the future. Those orphans who we have invited to England think that England is their second home. I really appreciate English people’s kindness and generosity.”
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