SEATTLE - Like many of us, Souma Yabuki was rocked by the images from northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. Instead of just watching the destruction, Souma wanted to be part of the solution.
"I just kind of look at it like what if I was in the tsunami... what if I lost my home,” he said.
So the then 3rd grader from Tops school in Seattle turned to his classmate aria to set up a fundraising drive.
"I didn't want to make people give up so much of their allowance but the Tops community was so supportive... that's why we raised so much money,” said Souma
Souma and Aria raised roughly $2,000 and delivered it to PeaceWinds America.
"No matter what the size of the check, it was overwhelming to the people far across the sea,” said Dr. Chuck Aanenson of PeaceWinds.
So on Tuesday, PeaceWinds visited the school to show them how their donation was used. The kids this time were looking at images of hope.
“I think it's really cool that in just a year all that has been fixed,” said Aria.
The money was used to deliver basic necessities to those in temporary shelters and helped revive the fishing industry, which drives the economy in the devastated area. The students feel their effort to save up their weekly allowances paid off.
"It really worked, and it wasn't spent just on candy. It was really helping people,” said Aria.
And the people of Japan had a chance to give back. They hand made peace cranes for every student as their way of thanking them for their heartwarming gift.
The children said seeing the pictures inspired them to think about another fundraiser.
Relief agencies believe the recovery will take at least five to ten more years.