Playground of Hope

This project is an initiative started by the NPO Playground of Hope founded by Michael Anop.

The goal of this project is to provide playgrounds near temporary housing facilities where the children can play safely. Unlike residential areas which typically have several parks within walking distance, temporary housing areas are often built on graveled land with almost constant traffic. There are no places for children to play and of course this is a source of stress and worry for kids and their parents alike.

The playgrounds will be built all over the Tohoku region (the next ones are already scheduled to be set up in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture). The writeup below pertains to the first playground which was opened in Ishinomaki and constructed with the help of INJM volunteers. INJM will continue collaborating with Playground of Hope for building many such playgrounds in the future!

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Location: Watanoha, Ishinomaki city

Assembling the playset in Ishinomaki took a total of about 5 days (spread over 2 weeks) with a coordinated effort of about 50 volunteers! But a lot of work took place in the background, including sourcing the materials, finalizing the site, logistics and planning.

(Right) Counting and packing the playset parts in Tokyo (Left) Arrival and unloading them in Ishinomaki in the night!

The playsets are constructed such that they can be (relatively) easily assembled and disassembled. This is important as it is likely they will have to be moved to new locations sometime in the future. The first steps involved preparing the gravel pit.

INJM volunteers preparing the gravel pit where the final playset will be installed

After assembling the playset, the pit was covered in a thick layer of wood chips to soften any eventual falls!

(Right) The completed playset on its inaugural day! (Left) INJM's Jamie El-Banna and Playground of Hope's Michael Anop in front of the first completed playset. (and Meg-chan who did not wish to stop playing)

The inaugural day of the first Playground of Hope saw a large crowd of children and parents. For more information about this initiative please visit the Playground of Hope website, or their Facebook page

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