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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Delivery of 951 School Cones to Kamaishi

On the 5th of December, we delivered 951 filled school cones to 9 elementary schools in Kamaishi. Kamaishi is in Iwate, which is one of the poorest regions in Japan and approximately 500 km North of Japan.

The children and teachers were very happy to see us and enjoyed very much the Magic & Clown Show of our Partner "Let's Party Tokyo". After that we gave them the school cones and received "high fives" from the kids :-)

You can find some pictures from that day below as a good impression...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Filling & Packing the School Cones

 Today was the day on which we filled the school cones. Together with 40 school boys and girls of the German School in Tokyo, we filled 951 school cones within 90 minutes. The filling is: school supplies of Herlitz (pens, pencils, eraser, etc.), Japanese and International candies (like Haribo, Ritter Sport, or Jelly Belly), one toy (which could be magic tricks or group games like DokiDoki Gorilla), a funny looking eraser (like McDonalds Burger, Coca Cola Cans, etc.), and a Heating Pack for cold days. You can see some of the items on below pictures.

It was an activity full of joy & pace. At the end our NPO/NGKokkyo naki Kodomotachi (Children without Border) did a short thank you speech with little presents for the kids at the German School as well. I also like to thank Mr Karl Stigler & Mr Harald Gauss from the German School for all their help during the last days and today. We also appreciate the support of the DHL employees and Sam Matsuoka san, the event organizer of "Let`s Party Tokyo".

Now we will bring the school cones and as well all the created photo books and collages with drawings/ postcards from all over the world to Kamaishi, Iwate together with "Let`s Party Tokyo". Monday is the big day and we will report back right after that...

Thanks so much to everyone, who helped and supported us so far!  

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A BIG Thank you & Next Steps

A few weeks ago (on 1st of November), we closed all the accounts for the donation collection, but it was a tremendous success and we like to thank all private persons, schools, clubs, organizations and corporate donators!

We collected 6,876.14 EUR on the donation account in Germany, received 4,000 EUR from Deutsche Post DHL, and as well have received ca. 160,000 JPY (~1,500 EUR)  from the photo exhibition of Markus Grasmueck and his friends. Only a little bit will go into the coordination and logistics, but probably 95% will go into the fillings of school cones (teachers requested some small toys, school supplies and international candies). We will report later with the exact financial statements in order to show clear transparency.

Now we are in our final steps before delivering the school cones to 9 schools on the 5th of December. The schools are all located in Kamaishi, which is a town that was terrible hit by the tsunami.

First, we will plan a small activity in the morning of the 2nd of December at the German School in Tokyo, Yokohama. The students of the elementary school and their teachers will help us to pack the ca. 900 school cones. Our partner organization KnK will present their other activities for kids. And the pupils will create small/ big photo books out of all received drawings and post cards from other schools worldwide.
We hope that it will be a smooth and fast activity - but especially the wrapping/ packing and loading of the DHL truck will be a small challenge. At this point we like to thank Mr Karl Stigler and Mr Harald Gauss for all their help, suggestions and support. This entire project would not be possible without them.

German School in Tokyo/ Yokohama

If anyone of you is in Tokyo on that day and like to help - please let us know! We need any help!

After that the DHL Supply Chain truck will departure to the North and deliver the school cones to 9 elementary schools in Kamaishi, which is North of Sendai. It is a coastal city with 40,000 citizens. One fifth of their houses and buildings got destroyed by 10 meter high tsunami waves.

Many people do not see the long term perspective in their town and we found articles which explain their serious situation:

"Don't talk about the future!" says Emiko Gotoh, who runs a public bath severely damaged by the tsunami. "There's no place with work, so young people might well leave. It would be great if another big company came, but who'd come here after such a big tsunami?"

(pictures and quote taken from:

Maybe our small project can put smiles on the faces of the kids and then they can spread this little joy in their town. It is not a big help in their situation, but we hope that it will be a small one and that the colorful school cones can make people happy. We received good feedback and grateful comments about our activity & the worldwide care already.

Hence, together with the educational board and the help of Mr Katsumi Yokote san we identified 2 schools in which we will deliver the cones personally and conduct a small magic show (with our partner "Let's Party Tokyo"). After that we will meet the principals of the other 7 schools and hand over school cones for the children in the 1st to 3rd grades. Altogether we will bring them approx. 900 school cones and the 9 created photo books (by students of German School in Tokyo) with more than 800 drawings and 500 postcards by kids from all over the world (Scotland, USA, Singapore, China, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Egypt, Kenya, Malta, etc.).

A special thank at this point goes to Gesa Neuert and Professor Hashimoto san, who helped us very much in getting in contact with the schools and the educational board of Kamaishi. Thanks a lot for all your help during the last two weeks.

If you will be in Tokyo on the 4th and 5th of December, you are very welcome in traveling with us to Kamaishi and hand over many school cones to the kids. We do not want to finance the transportation, as we like to give all the money into the school cones (or the left overs to other meaningful projects of our partners), but maybe you are interested and join us on our trip - please let us know and we can plan together in order to keep the costs for everyone very low!

Next time we will report with many pictures and a small video, which will be created by "Let's Party Tokyo".

Now we are looking forward to the special days and of course we have to do a lot of shopping before that...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Updates & New Partner

...long time has passed since our last update, but we have some good news.

The school cones from Germany are on their way to Japan and will arrive in October. DHL Supply Chain confirmed that they will deliver the filled school cones to Tohoku for free. We received more postcards and pictures from many countries including African countries as well a nice pack of postcards from Ireland.

AND, we have a new partner: Let's Party Tokyo 

"Since 2000, Let's Party Tokyo has been providing excellent party entertainment for the international community in Tokyo and Yokohama. With over 10 years of experience Let's Party Tokyo performers have performed at hundreds of parties and events bringing smiles, laughter and lasting memories to children of all ages. 

...impressive magic tricks, funny costumes, cutely painted faces, and active games." (Source: Let's Party Tokyo Homepage)

What we like about them is that they were already very active in Tohoku and that they have the same objective: put a smile on children faces and create with this some fun moments not only for the kids, but the entire community.

On their Blog or Facebook Page, you can find more reports and information about their activities and engagement in community work in Tohoku as well.

One week ago, we met Sam Matsuoka san (who is one of the co-owner of this company) and we explained to him that we like to deliver the school cones to three to four schools in Tohoku in beginning of December, but it would be nice to have some program around it. He liked the idea and suggested either small clown activities with magic or a small Christmas Party with Santa Claus. Both sounded very nice and now we feel honored to work together with them.

He also recommended a friend who might take small video spots which we can send around the world then, to all participating schools globally. We felt really happy after the discussion with him, who is truly an inspiring person, and now we are looking forward to the delivery date - maybe on the 5th or the 6th of December. 

Thank you, Matsuoka san and "Let's Party Tokyo" in advance for all your help and making this project even more meaningful and hopefully even more enjoyable for the kids.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Internal Newsletter at Deutsche Post DHL

Kids Helping Kids in Japan Transition Back to Normal Life

While children all over the world are getting ready to go back to school, some kids in Chicago were already hard at work.  Earlier this week, students at the German School of Chicago were preparing “KinderCones”, a unique back to school gift filled with treats, sweets, school supplies, journals and letters – for school kids in Japan still coping with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunamis.  Nearly 100 of these special gift packages were picked up on Wednesday, August 17 by DHL Express in Chicago who donated its shipping services for the charitable cause.

Dating back 200 years, the tradition of the Schultuete or “school cone” is one of the most celebrated and long-standing traditions in Germany.  At the beginning of every school year, children all over Germany set off with their large and shiny Schultueten, also called school cones or sugar cones by many.  These large, colorful school cones, purchased or home-made, sweeten the child’s first day of school as they come filled with little gifts, school supplies and sweets.

The Chicago project is actually part of a larger DHL cross-business unit initiative spearheaded by Andreas Baller of DHL Global Forwarding in Japan.  Andreas is coordinating the collection of over 1,000 of these school cones from 10 countries, as well as pictures and postcards – all intended for schools and youth centers in Japan located in areas hardest hit by the earthquake and Tsunamis. Andreas has received support from all DP DHL divisions, including EXPRESS, GLOBAL FORWARDING, FREIGHT, MAIL and SUPPLY CHAIN.

“The project is under the umbrella of the 150 years of German – Japanese friendship which is being commemorated this year,” said Baller. “It’s an incredible gesture of goodwill for schoolchildren that have had terrible traumatic experiences during the big earthquakes and all of its after shocks.  We work together with the German School in Yokohama, and parents of the students and DHL employees.  It’s great for bringing all DHL business units together for one important cause, terrific for the kids as well as improves cultural understanding.”

Andreas Baller was recently awarded €4,000 by the Living Responsibility Fund for this project, under the partner organization “Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi” (KnK) or Children Without Borders.  He has also received a sizeable donation, 1000 school cones, from Herlitz AG, the leading producer of paper, office supplies and stationery articles in Europe.

More information about the project can be found at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Updates & News

Today, it has been exactly 5 months after the big Earthquake hit in Japan. Still a lot of help & support are needed, but it has become less and less obvious in the news. Today, I'd like to give an overview of where we stand and what has happened since the last update. 

We received a confirmation from the German School in Yokohama that they will organize a small event for filling the school cones together with their pupils and the parents. Another confirmation was from a high school in Yokohama (next to Tokyo), which will ask their students to create the photo/picture books for the kids in Tohoku (out of the more than 400 drawings and maybe 150 postcards which we have received from all over the world).

Vivian Lie in Chicago has started a small activity at the German School in Chicago. Together with DHL Express US and her company Kinder Cone, she is organizing a special event on 17th of August 2011.
One of our project members, Pierre is running Sydney marathon and hoping to collect some money/ donations by a small bet. Also, we still have some charity parties in Italy and France coming up.

DHL Global Forwarding Japan & Germany have agreed to support the transportation of school cones from Berlin to Tokyo, and we have also received the positive feedback from DHL Supply Chain Japan that they will deliver the filled school cones from the German School in Yokohama to these affected schools in Tohoku.

In addition to all the above, we have received a nice letter from the German Embassy that they would like to include us in the event list of their "150 Years German-Japanese Friendship" Project. We are one of their official partners now. The Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry also listed us on their web page for initiatives and activities for Tohoku, which is a real honor for us.

More than 6000 visitos have visited our homepage, more than 250 friends and follower on our Facebook Page, more than 8,000 EUR collected, over 700 drawings, art works and postcards have arrived.... which is more than we expected when we initiated the project. Thank you.

Now you are probably wondering when the distribution to Tohoku will take place. 
During the last meeting with  NGO/NPO KnK International, Children without Borders in July, they suggested us, if we can postpone the delivery of the school cones to a later date due to the following reasons:

a.) Many children received gifts and toys during last months and schools are concerned about children being too spoiled. They want to encourage children to stand up by themselves.

b.) As mentioned at the beginning of this blog: the consequences of the big earthquake are disappearing from the news. Maybe you hear something about the nuclear fear, but nothing about the situation in the tsunami hit areas. BUT help is of course still needed (for instance we organize a company trip to Tohoku next week and will do cleaning up for three days). 

Their suggestion was to spread the help over a longer period for better sustainability, as psychological help will be needed in long term. Originally we wanted to distribute in September when the school resumes after summer holiday but these two reasons made us think that December might be a better timing and we will comply with the recommendation of our NGO Partner, who is experienced and better informed. It also gives us the opportunity to possibly combine it with a small christmas or year-end party at the schools, and also to extend our deadline for donation and support from schools all over the world. 

We are very happy and thankful to all your support. We still have a long way to go and we do not stop or slow down. We still need your further support! Please help to spread the word even further and promote our web page. Please write to us, we are always open for any suggestions or ideas!

I am sure that the children in Tohoku will have a big smiles on their faces when we deliver your warm support filled in School cones!!