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Scrap Metal to Swings - Childs Play for PRT

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Students and staff of Markaz Girls' High School by their new playground swing set. Lance Corporal Josh Whitehead stands in the centre receiving thanks from Markaz's Principal

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release
15 November 2005

Scrap Metal to Swings - Childs Play for PRT

A Kiwi soldier serving in Afghanistan has used his spare time to build a playground for children at a Bamyan school.

Lance Corporal Josh Whitehead (Kaiwaka) built a set of playground swings and a basketball set from scrap metal he found in the New Zealand compound.

A member of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT), it took Lance Corporal Whitehead three weeks to build the items for Markaz Girls’ High School.

Playgrounds with proper equipment are rare in Afghanistan and this one, to the best of the NZPRT’s knowledge, is the first to be built in Bamyan.

After putting his ideas to paper Lance Corporal Whitehead built both items by measuring them out on the ground and making a best estimate of the dimensions.

“The biggest challenge was getting the framework of the swing set square because of the uneven ground I had to work on.”

“I designed the swing as a kitset so we could get it to the school easily. It only took a handful of us a couple of hours to put everything together,” he said.

The playground equipment has proven to be extremely popular with the children of Markaz Girls’ High School, (the school also includes boys up to ten years old) with children often queuing for a turn on the swings.


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