It is almost 3 years since the disaster and it is great to learn that many schools will finally be re-opened in April, some by governments, some privately. It is so important to get these schools back up and running because otherwise parents are unable to return to the area, meaning that companies recovering from the disaster do not have enough employees.
While schools are being rebuilt, with many of them opening in April, these are being built with the very minimum resources due to the severe shortages of funding (especially for privately operated schools) and contractors who are in high demand.
Dogen-in is just one such example. A temple located at the top of the hill, became a refugee camp for more than 400 victims immediately after the tsunami for many weeks (http://www15.ocn.ne.jp/~dougenin/). Having established a closer relationship with the community, and understanding the need for schools, they have raised more than JPY200m, including more than JPY100m of their own money as well as a 20 year loan for JPY68m. Even with such large monies, they had to cut back on many items which are not critical, including the playground.
Nadia has put together a number of sponsors and will be donating the following:
- Earth to cover over the whole playground, still containing debris from the tsunami
- A Playground of Hope playset (http://www.playgroundofhope.org/)
- Wood-decking (cut out from the budget)
- Grass and Spring Toys for 0-1 year olds
Now we need volunteers to build all these items over the weekend of March 14-16, in time for the opening ceremony of the Hoikuen on 16th March. The Volunteer Work will include the following:
- Building of playset (led by PoH staff)
- Moving earth from one heap across the whole playground (led by Nadia leader)
- Laying down grass and building Spring Toys for 0-1 year olds (led by Horiuchi-san of Sakae Corporation)
- Building Wooden Decking (led by Shirai-san of Craft Setagaya http://kraftman-setagaya.jimdo.com/)
- Preparation of Opening Ceremony
- If possible, flower planting at other schools nearby
The overall itinerary is as follows:
14th March – 11pm – Depart Shinjuku by bus
15th March – 6am – Arrive Ishinomaki
15th March – 8am-3:30pm -Volunteer work
16th March – 8am-10am – Volunteer work
16th March – 10:30am-2pm – Opening Ceremony
16th March – 2:30pm – Depart Ishinomaki
16th March – 9pm – Arrive Shinjuku
This will be a very hard-working, highly rewarding experience, with lots of fun with many great volunteers! In addition, volunteers will be welcomed at the Opening Ceremony on 16th where they can meet the kids and children we do this for, as well as those who helped make this work.
We hope many of you can join us!