BULLETIN: Community Gathering Place “Honeywell Ibasho House” Opens in Japan

Operation USA partners with Honeywell to aid tsunami victims


Ofunato, Iwate, Japan, June 18, 2013 – Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international relief agency, today confirms the opening of Honeywell Ibasho House, a community gathering place in Masaki-Cho, Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture, dedicated to enriching the lives of elders affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011.


Operation USA has established a long-term commitment in Japan, where upwards of 400,000 people were displaced by the 2011 disaster, focusing efforts in Ofunato – a once vibrant fishing community. The organization’s partnership with Honeywell aims to create a gathering place where the Elders of Ofunato can come to find their “Ibasho”, roughly translated as “a place where one feels at home”.


The concept for Ibasho House was developed by gerontology specialist Dr. Emi Kiyota. The center was designed by Professor Suguru Mori with the Laboratory of Architecture and Planning at Hokkaido University using contemporary and sustainable building methods. Honeywell Hometown Solutions, Honeywell’s corporate social responsibility organization, and its Honeywell Humanitarian Relief Fund provided funding for the project.


“Without Honeywell’s unwavering commitment to the recovery of the people of Ofunato, this vital project could not have been realized,” said Richard Walden, President and CEO, Operation USA. “We are very proud to have worked hand-in-hand with Honeywell and our outstanding community partners to see it completed.”


Project management for Ibasho House was overseen by Operation USA. Ibasho, an organization focused on connecting communities with its elders, social welfare foundation Tenjin-kai, led by Dr. Yukimi Uchide, and Ito-Gumi, a local construction company, were invaluable in making the project possible — along with support from Mayor Toda of Ofunato.


Ibasho House will be operated by Ibasho Sozo Project, a non-profit organization, and will be used for a variety of community-driven social programs run by local volunteers and beneficiaries. The center aims to be a place where elders feel welcomed and accepted in a non-institutional environment and will encourage cross-generational engagements with the aim of helping elders to re-develop personal resilience that may have been lost following the disaster.


Honeywell will continue to support the project through a 5-year term agreement.


Operation USA and Honeywell have also previously partnered on projects in Pakistan, Haiti, Sri Lanka and China.


Founded in 1979, Operation USA helps communities alleviate the effects of disasters, disease and endemic poverty by providing privately-funded relief, reconstruction and development aid throughout the world. The Los Angeles based non-government organization offers material and financial assistance to community-based organizations that promote sustainable development, leadership and capacity building, income generating activities, education, health services, and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable people. Learn more at www.OpUSA.org.


Mary Dolan
Operation USA