Personal passion flares forth! In the story of the ANT-Hiroshima (Asian Network of Trust) Cooperation Circle, a global relief and peacebuilding NGO, we hear Tomoko Watanabe’s powerful passion for peace. Tomoko Watanabe was born in Hiroshima, Japan, just eight years after the atomic bombing. She heard her father describe this world: “There was nothing we could do but keep on going, keep on living.” ANT-Hiroshima was born out of Tomoko’s investigation into this culture and her determination to help survivors suffering from similar atrocities all over the world. In a URI interview, Tomoko shared her wisdom and how her personal passion is impacting thousands, if not millions, of people across the world.
"The more familiar I became with Hiroshima’s A-bomb experience, the more profound its meaning grew."
From Tomoko Watanabe:
The more familiar I became with Hiroshima’s A-bomb experience, the more profound its meaning grew. I came to feel that I wanted Hiroshima to be at the heart of my work for the rest of my life. And ever since, hand in hand with many others, I have pursued activities which I hope can impact people’s lives for the better while spreading Hiroshima’s spirit of peace.
I believe that to serve effectively those in need, we must listen very closely to what their needs truly are, show respect for their cultural ways, and work together with the local people as equals.
The “T” in ANT, standing for “Trust,” is also a strong component of the organization’s work. Building a foundation of trust is essential to the success and sustainability of any project. At the same time, more broadly, trust is a prerequisite for peace itself. Building trust with any community is challenging, and toward this end, the key ingredients are time, patience, and dependability.
Stories of suffering are very important to continue sharing for two reasons: “These stories enable present and future generations to honor the victims of suffering and serve as a sharp reminder for us to work hard to prevent such suffering from occurring again. These stories can give hope and encouragement to others faced with suffering of their own.”
Read Tomoko Watanabe’s report about ANT-Hiroshima that includes her personal mission statement, “Spreading Hiroshima’s Spirit of Peace.”