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Eau Claire students will head to Japan for the 'Kizuna Project'

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis (WEAU)--A group of Eau Claire high school students is getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

In March, 23 Memorial High School and North High School seniors will be part of a group of 200 students from the U.S to travel to Japan for the ‘Kizuna Project’.

The ‘Kizuna Project’ is a program the Japanese government set up after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Schools from 41 different countries were invited to come help rebuild parts of the country’s most devastated areas and learn about the Japanese culture.

Japan has already hosted four all-expense paid trips. The trip this March will be the last one.

"I’m just excited to help, however, I can now matter how much devastation there still is," said 18 year-old Sydney Wolfe.

Wolfe and her classmates have been studying Japanese for four years.

I don't know how good I am at but I’ll find out,” said Wolf.

"They will hear information from real people and learn real experiences by using Japanese,” said Memorial Japanese Teacher Hiroko Nagai.

The group will spend 10 days in Japan, visiting Tokyo and Sendai.

“Sendai is the heart of the earthquake. We will spend time there and help build something, like a nice garden for them,” said Nagai.

Nearly three years after the quake thousands of people in Japan are still displaced.

18 year old Iayzah Javaid remembers watching the devastation unfold.

"Now to be able to go there and see how the people are still affected is amazing," said Javaid.

For part of trip, the students will step away from the construction sites to learn from host families.

"It’s so different from in class to reality,” said Memorial Senior Sheyenphai Her.

A true exchange from the hands to the heart, Sheyengphai, Izayah and Sydney says they have a lesson for people they meet too.

"Show them that we care and they’re not alone," said Javaid.

The Eau Claire students won't be the only ones from the Badger state.
A group from Madison is also going, so two out of the eight schools going to Japan are from Wisconsin this year.


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