The March 2011 disaster left countless people in northeast Japan with invisible scars. Ten years later, to revitalize this area and protect the children's smiles here, TGB Charity partnered with Japanese NPO, Playground of Hope, and built a playground in the Matsuzaki Ozaki Park in Kesennuma City, whose coast was totally razed by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Reconstruction from the 2011 Disaster
On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its recorded history. The earthquake caused a tsunami and both struck northeast Japan. More than 15,500 people died, and over 450,000 people became homeless.
At that time, Michael Anop founded Playground of Hope (PoH), and dedicated himself to volunteering in the stricken area, where PoH has built more than 60 play sets since then.
In 2020, TGB Charity worked with PoH, building a playground in the Matsuzaki Ozaki Park, a governmental disaster-prevention park where the pre-tsunami homes used to stand. The locals voted for the recreational equipment they preferred in the park. That’s why we’re now having a set of outdoor gym, a spring rider, a sand box, a mini tunnel, and a 6.3m high rope pyramid in our playground! The whole construction process took PoH two months to finish, and it was all done by PoH members and local volunteers. As the participants’ average age was above 60, the mission was really not easy!
Best Opening Ceremony during Covid-19 Pandemic
In April 2021, as Covid-19 was continuing to spread around the world, large gatherings were not allowed. We had a small opening ceremony for the playground and also for the 10th anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake.
At the ceremony, the locals experienced the brand new equipment and the kids were invited to draw and sketch their favorite sights in the park. Moreover, we had special guests, Mr. Sugawara, the mayor of Kesennuma City, and Mr. Kajiwara, director of Omose Area Development Council, hosting the ceremony and even tried the equipment in person. Thanks for everyone participating the event, we really had a great time and enjoyed the park!
In addition, special thanks to NHK team for joining the event and recording such great moments. The ceremony and PoH’s charity works would be on NHK World and NHK Ohayo Nippon as part of special collections for the Tohoku earthquake 10th anniversary.