Playground of Hope Report

June 28 – 30, 2013 │ Miyagi
Organised by NPO NADIA together with Playground of Hope (PoH), which works with communities to site and build playgrounds to recover the region’s deep sense of community, and It’s Not Just Mud (INJM), another Tohoku based volunteer organization, Deutsche Bank Group (DBG) employees constructed a playground at a newly established pre-school in Ishinomaki-city, while repairing and sprucing-up three others in parks and pre-schools across the town.

The coastal town was one of those in Japan’s north-east most heavily damaged by the tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011. The playgrounds finally replace play areas lost in the disaster and, as they bring children together, help parents and neighbours to recover their sense of community.

Thirty-two DBG employees from Japan and across Asia united for the a joint volunteer project to build and refresh playgrounds in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture between June 28-30. The volunteers from DBG, NADIA, PoH and INJM worked in teams of 4-5, taking turns on various aspects of the playground’s construction, from preparing components, to assembling the structure and preparing the grounds as safe play areas. Each team also helped improve at least one of the three other playgrounds previously installed by PoH to ensure their longer-term usability, and ensure they remain well maintained and attractive to children, their parents and neighbours.

With the completion of the main site on June 30, the volunteers then hosted children and neighbours to a mini-festival to celebrate the area’s reconstruction and handover the playground to its host community. As children raced to be the first on the playset, the school’s founder explained to all how much the playground meant to the community, telling them, “We have come a long way in the last two years and overcome much. This playset helps ensure our children only see a bright future ahead of them.”

DBG has been a direct supporter of NADIA since April 2011 and many of its employees have participated on multiple volunteering trips. The June 28-30 playground project trip marked the first collaboration project between NADIA, PoH and INJM in Tohoku. Thanks to the signification donation from Deutsche Bank Group and its employees, NADIA, PoH and INJM were not only able to build this new playground in Ishinomaki but also established 2 new playground facilities in Shinchi, Fukushima Prefecture on July 6 and 7.