Saya Komatsu: Helping abroad and at home

WHERE: Habitat Japan; Global Village trips

WHAT: Gutting and cleaning houses damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, various community-based improvement projects, Habitat Japan office volunteer for local events

WHY: “I’ve known of Habitat since I joined a campus chapter at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. I continue to support Habitat because I simply feel empathy with its way of helping others. “When I volunteered at the tsunami-affected area in Tohoku, I realized that people need a decent place to live to restart their lives. It is crucial to have one’s own house to recover from disasters or to overcome poverty. Since the huge disaster happened in my country, I found that this can happen to anybody; those are no longer only ‘their’ problems.”