School helps Japanese pupils

Japanese pupils with some of the gifts with their teacher Alison Nemoto, a former Gateways pupil.

Japanese pupils with some of the gifts with their teacher Alison Nemoto, a former Gateways pupil.

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A HAREWOOD School has donated some much-needed school equipment to Japanese schoolchildren who were victims of last year’s devastating earthquake.

Pupils from Gateways School in Harewood have now organised a collection of books, stationery and crayons for Japanese schoolchildren affected in the disaster last year.

Alison Nemoto, a former Gateways student who now lives in Japan, experienced first-hand the devastating events of the earthquake, Tsunami and nuclear crisis in March 2011.

Alison, now a primary school English teacher in Japan, was living in Fukushima- her home for the past 14 years- with her husband, three daughters and parents-in-law when the earthquake took place.

The family were forced to leave their home and move 40 kms North where Alison had been teaching as a volunteer in Minami Soma City.

Teaching aids were desperately needed to replace those lost in the crisis and the Gateways collection, which arrived in Japan in December, was gratefully received by Alison and her pupils.

She said: “Luckily the children were evacuated to high ground quickly and all pupils were saved, but many of them lost homes and family members.”

The school reopened in a local community centre where Alison taught English once a week and a new temporary school has now been built nearby.