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Un petit air de joie, pour une aire de jeux

Courir après le temps, courir après l’argent, courir sa chance… Sait-on jamais vraiment pourquoi l’on court ? Les élèves du LFIT, eux, savent désormais qu’ils avaient une belle raison de courir le 14 décembre dernier. Et depuis la rentrée de cette année, une belle raison de se réjouir.

Leurs efforts ont permis d’offrir aux 166 élèves de l’école Komagamine, dans la préfecture de Fukushima, l’installation, en partenariat avec l’association Nadia et ses partenaires de Playground of Hope, d’une aire de jeux sur leur terrain de sport. Pour les élèves de cette région durement touchée lors du tsunami du 11 mars 2011, elle est source de rires, d’amusement et d’éclats de joie. Elle est aussi le symbole de la solidarité entre enfants vivant dans le même pays.

Car voilà deux ans maintenant que le LFIT a choisi de donner un aspect caritatif à sa traditionnelle course de Noël. Et l’année dernière, c’est l’association Nadia qui a été choisie pour recevoir la somme de 410 000 yens réunie grâce à la vente des bonnets de Noël.

Cette somme a aidé à financer à hauteur de 10% le coût total de l’aire de jeux. D’autres partenaires (Société Générale, Hilton Hotel, Eyes of Fukushima) se sont associés à l’aventure et ont permis que ces jeux sortent de terre.

C’est dans cet esprit de solidarité et de générosité que, le 5 septembre dernier, des lycéennes, pour certaines accompagnées de leurs parents, et des enseignants du LFIT, armés de visseuses, pinceaux et serre-joints, ont donné de leur temps et de leur énergie pour participer à l’installation de l’aire de jeux et à la réfection des cages de football.

Point d’orgue de cette journée intense et bien remplie, l’inauguration autour d’un barbecue géant auquel étaient conviés les élèves et leurs familles, soit près de 250 personnes. Mais si les chamallows au chocolat et les hamburgers ont été engloutis avec délice, c’est au toboggan qu’il y avait le plus d’enfants !

Cette année encore, les élèves du LFIT se retrouveront derrière la ligne de départ, prêts à donner le meilleur d’eux mêmes ; et à poursuivre cet élan de générosité.

À vos marques, prêts… Rendez-vous est pris en décembre prochain !

 

NADIA, PoH and LFIT project : Building Playgrounds in the Tohoku region

Last June Monsieur Houdoin, Head of LFIT Primary forwarded us a note from Guy Roberge, Tokyo coordinator for Nadia NPO to work with LFIT and Playground of Hope for a joint project to build a playground in Shinchi Machi, Fukushima Prefecture, in Komagamine Elementary school to be precise.

The Lycée Français International de Tokyo raised money during the Course de Noël last december (2014), to participate in funding this beautiful joint project.

Some of LFIT students, teachers and parents were offered to volunteer and be part of that wonderful project. Eleven of them joined Guy Roberge and his team, along with PoH and NADIA to complete the project.

The volunteers left on Friday September 4th and travelled by bus to Sendai. We left at around 7:30pm and arrived at the hotel in Sendai around midnight.
The journey by bus went really smoothly and we all went to bed quickly in order to be ready and sharp for the big day the next morning leaving Sendai at 8am to be in Shinchi-Machi at 9am.

Upon our arrival we were warmly greeted by the Komagamine Elementary school staff along with PoH team. The representatives of the school explained how the area had been impacted by the March 11 disaster and how the area and school has been recovering and now welcomes displaced kids (14% of the 166 kids) from other affected areas of Fukushima. Although radiation levels in this town is now below Tokyo levels, the city and whole prefecture are now fighting another problem: obesity in kids is on the rise following years of reduced outdoor play, hence the importance of providing this new playground to the community. After this explanation, everyone got to meet each other briefly in order to get to work together as efficiently as possible.

We were assigned tasks that were super well organised and everything went very smoothly and fast. By noon, 75% of the playground was already set up. We took a welcome lunch break together again, allowing everyone to get to know each other a little bit more.
By 4pm the playground was fully completed and it was time for a big BBQ and fun sharing times, that again, the volunteers teams pulled out beautifully. The local families and friends of the school were amazed and happy how such a jolly fun group of people managed to give their kids the best gifts of all : being able to PLAY MORE !

All in all, this project and adventure was a huge success by telling how louds the laughters were heard and cheers the kids made when they were finally allowed to play with their new playground.

On a personal level I was blessed by the superb organization of that whole day, the hard work everyone displayed enthusiastically, working in groups where one another hardly knew each other but always followed the tasks assigned with smiles and cheers. Everyone got along so well in a very simple and efficient manner, teaching the students great values of effort, teamwork, giving and thankfulness.

Thank you again Guy Roberge for allowing us LFIT volunteers to be part of that day and project. The smiles on the local kids faces, and on everyone’s faces were priceless.
Although community service is taught at the LFIT in a very institutionalized way and is very much part of the students curriculum in the French Educational system, they are not often given the opportunity to see actual results or what it really means to give back to the community. Most of the participants, organizers, local staff, students teachers or parents were in Japan or Tokyo when the Great Quake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 happened so it was all the more significant.
The memory of happy volunteers that gave their time, support and full enthusiasm on that day and the immediate results of this fantastic project will resonate for many years to come in our minds and hearts.

We wish to be part of more projects like that in the months and years to come !
Long live NADIA, PoH and the Play More spirit !!

Best wishes and see you all soon for the next project !

 

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