An Update from the Japanese Canadian Survivors Health & Wellness Fund

By Susanne Tabata


PROJECT OFFICE STAFF (L to R): Lindsay Fong, Linda Kawamoto Reid, Eiko Eby, and Mari Mikuni. Photo by John Endo Greenaway.

We enter the new year with gratitude to our seniors, their families, and to you who work every day to make lives better for those in your communities.  It has been a humbling six months to create, administer and implement a limited $2M seniors health and wellness fund in Canada, when there are families who have lost loved ones, there are survivors in need of supports, and there are some who live outside the country & not eligible for this round of funding.  We do this work with condolences to all families who are mourning the loss of a family member, and with support to those caring for loved ones.  We do all of this work under the umbrella of a pandemic.

STEERING COMMITTEE (L to R):  Susanne Tabata, Ruth Coles, Eiko Eby, and Cathy Makihara.  
Photo by John Endo Greenaway.

ORGANIZATION & GROUP GRANTS

The Selection Committee of Susan Matsumoto, Art Miki, Ruth Coles, Cathy Makihara, and Eiko Eby met to evaluate all the applications from groups and organizations.  A total of 50 organizations and 19 groups in Canada are awarded grants.  Organizations are a range of health care, religious, cultural and heritage, who are hosting connectivity events, outreach, reflective storytelling, and internment bus tours.  Groups, and a surprising large number of Kenjinkais, are doing small social, cultural, and recreational wellness activities.  Thank you so much to Susan Matsumoto and Art Miki for joining our team to thoughtfully review the applications, and for bringing your community expertise to the project.  

All projects awarded funds will be posted on jcwellness.org.  We anticipate schedule changes for reconnecting events due to pandemic protocols and want to assure all organizations and groups that your project funding is protected. Cheques have been sent out this month to all groups and organizations.  Also, the grants to all individual recipients are non-taxable as “injury replacement payment” funds for JC seniors that were interned, displaced and faced financial hardship. 

STAY INFORMED & SIGN UP FOR INFORMATION

The JC Survivors Health and Wellness Fund office is building a database to provide seniors with information for future supports and a potential expansion of the Fund.  We have connected with less than one third of survivors currently living in Canada.  

Sometimes the hardest to reach are those most in need. We acknowledge that moving forward outreach to individuals is a key priority, so please assist our office with encouraging individuals and health representatives to contact jcwellness.org and click the link to SIGN UP TO HEAR ABOUT BC REDRESS AND FUTURE FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES.  And for personal contact, please connect with Eiko Eby at eikoeby@nikkeishc.com or (250) 797-6300.

BC REDRESS FOR 2022

Seniors health and wellness is one of 6 pillars in an overall package of Japanese Canadian BC legacy initiatives (education, seniors’ health & wellness, heritage, community+culture, anti-racism, & monument) details found on bcredress.ca, which were built in Spring 2020, proposed in July 2020, analyzed externally by IFSD in fall 2020, and developed over 2021, with full community involvement.  We are committed to our community partners who have been part of this entire effort to date.  The scope of our proposal has been approved as part of the Historical Wrongs Framework, in the BC Government’s meeting of Deputy Ministers in December 2021. There is a lot going on behind-the-scenes with government engagement taking place, and news to report in the coming months. In the meantime, we have recommended and assisted 5 Japanese Canadian organizations in their applications to BC Heritage 150 Time Immemorial Grants ( New Denver, Hastings Park, Tashme, Vancouver Japanese Language School, and Nikkei National Museum ) on projects which are place-based heritage infrastructure projects, in their applications for the BC Heritage 150 Time Immemorial Grants.  
 
BC Redress is set on a 10 year history of key events which have taken place to take us to where we are in 2022.  We will be highlighting these events in the coming month.  It has come at a time when our issei and so many of our nisei are not here to receive this acknowledgment. We do this work in their memory and for those who are still with us, and because we believe that this will make a positive change in the lives of so many of our seniors, and in the overarching legacy of this community.