San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

UNESCO project sends messages of hope to Japan

Two months ago, a tsunami swept over the northeastern coast of Japan, taking the lives of tens of thousands  and forever changing the lives of millions more.

The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and the massive wave that followed left more than 7,000 Japanese schools in ruins. Many of the students attending these schools lost family, friends and homes to the disaster. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) wants to bring a message of hope and solidarity to the children and teachers affected by the tragedy.

The organization is sponsoring a project called “Kizuna,” the Japanese word for “bond.” The goal of the project is to get schoolchildren and teachers from around the world to send messages of hope and support to their Japanese peers.

“The word ‘kizuna’ transmits a strong message of solidarity and embodies the solidity of our cooperation with Japan over the past 60 years,” said Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, in a statement. “We are convinced that the work of reconstruction, both psychological and material, should begin with the students and the teachers.”

The letters will be distributed by the regional branch of UNESCO in Japan to students and teachers in areas most damaged by the earthquake.

The letters should:

–include the date and name, sex and return address of the sender;

–indicate whether the sender is a student or teacher;

–include a written message or photograph;

–be written in Japanese or one of the six official languages of the United Nations: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish.

In order to facilitate coordination in Japan, schools and classrooms that send letters en masse should put all of the individual letters into one packet.

The letters must be sent by July 31 to the Sendai UNESCO Association, 1-2-2 Oomachi, Aoba-ku Sendai city, 980-0804, Japan. Letters may also be sent to the regional office of UNESCO that is nearest to the sender. For more information, visit

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