Playground Of Hope #5
Iwate-ken, Shimoheigun, Yamadamachi, Korakucho 4-5
Installation date: August 23, 24, 25, 2012
Sponsor: Neways Japan
The Orikasa Hoikuen was in the direct path of the tsunami but undamaged due to its location (pictured below) high on a hill. For many months it served as an evacuation shelter for residents who lost their homes. Today it operates as a day care and community center for families living in nearby temporary housing units. Approximately 2,000 people used the center last year. More than 50 children are currently enrolled in the day care program, with an average of an additional 10 local kids visiting daily.
The school has several 30 year old athletic equipment pieces, however, they are in a sad state of repair. In addition to installing a new play set we hope to remove one unusable piece of equipment and paint others bright and cheerful colors to bring a sense of hope back to the community.
Orikasa Preschool has very large ground that overlook Yamada city. The small flower garden visible in the background of the picture below is in the corner of the school’s playground. After discussion with school principal and local board of education directors, it has been decided that the ideal location would be the open space in front of the flower garden. This location would make the play set partially viewable from the street below. The idea is to make the play set the center piece of the school, viewable from class rooms, school auditorium and administrative offices.
The Neways Foundation generously donated Y1,500,000 to fund the Playground of Hope project at Orikasa Daycare, complete with opening ceremony, including live music, barbeque, drinks, shaved ice, a clown and, best of all, an impressive student performance enjoyed by 100 kids, family and local community members. The entire community came out to support this project including the Yamada City mayor, the monk from local shrine, board of education people, dads, moms and grandparents!