SWISS and Edelweiss Air help Japanese youngsters again

30.07.2013

The SWISS Group is helping a second group of Japanese children who were affected by the 2011 tsunami disaster by flying them to Switzerland. The “Wings for Japan” project offers the youngsters concerned a chance to immerse themselves in the Swiss alpine world, meet contemporaries and make firm new friends.

In the second such action associated with the privately-organized “Wings for Japan” project, a group of 25 Japanese children aged between 12 and 16 arrived in Zurich on Edelweiss Air on Friday 26 July. The youngsters, who are all from the Tohoku region which was severely affected by the 2011 tsunami, have been invited to Europe to spend a week in Central Switzerland and exploring Zurich and Bern. The SWISS Group has been supporting “Wings for Japan”, which is funded by private donations, since it was established in 2011 by offering its flight services between Japan and Switzerland.

The “Wings for Japan” project was founded by current and former SWISS employees following the publication of the book entitled Tsunami by Japanese journalist Ken Mori in 2011. Mori’s book is a collection of accounts by 80 children aged between five and 17 of their experiences of the disaster, all told in written or picture form. The declared aim of the “Wings for Japan” project is to enable all 80 youngsters to visit Switzerland at some point, to offer them a positive and refreshing break from their often-still-difficult day-to-day lives and given them the chance to meet other children their age. While the first group of 25 youngsters came to a wintry Switzerland last year, this second group of 25 are enjoying the Swiss mountains around Interlaken in warm summer weather. As well as hikes and play afternoons, they’ll also have the chance to sample various Swiss specialities. The group is being looked after by some 20 voluntary helpers.

As the airlines of Switzerland, SWISS and Edelweiss Air also support further carefully-selected actions and initiatives alongside “Wings for Japan”, some of which have also been initiated by SWISS personnel. SWISS, for instance, is a long-standing partner of SOS Children’s Villages International, providing donations and publicity and performing targeted fundraising drives on the charity’s behalf. SOS Children’s Villages International is further supported by the SWISS Staff Foundation for Children in Need, a charity that is independent of the company but is run by its employees on an entirely voluntary basis. The Foundation encourages SWISS staff to make regular donations via voluntary salary deductions to finance the living costs of families at various SOS Children’s Villages. Edelweiss Air, for its part, has been donating flights to the Camaquito children’s charity in Cuba for several years now.