The young students of San Joaquin Elementary School in Sto. Tomas Batangas had their usual quiet weekday afternoon transformed into a day of memorable fun and creative learning by Sumitomo Heavy Industries (Philippines) Manufacturing & Services (SHIMS) with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event just recently. Together with their partners from LEGO, SHIMS treated the children to an afternoon free from the normal routine of school, replaced instead with an opportunity to explore the limits of their creativity and passion.
The Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. (SHI), parent company of the Sumitomo Group, has deep roots stretching back almost four hundred years to 17th century Japan. The company originally manufactured copper mining equipment but since then, four centuries of constant technological growth and innovation has seen Sumitomo’s reach expand greatly. The company is now a globally recognized player in the fields of General Industrial Machinery, Precision Control Equipment, and even Ship Building.
From its inception, SHI has operated on the belief that “Serving Society is a Benefit to the Company.” Today, this commitment to reaching out and making the world a better place can be seen in their numerous Corporate Social Responsibility efforts all over the world. The SHIMS and LEGO partnership for the CSR event in San Joaquin Elementary School is simply the latest in a long-running and continuing series of philanthropic campaigns from the company.
“Partnering with LEGO for this CSR event is a very special opportunity for the kids of Sto. Tomas,” shares Hiroji Okamoto, President and CEO of Sumitomo Heavy Industries Manufacturing & Services. The opportunity to spark something new and creative inside the minds of the next generation is a task that the company is happy to support. San Joaquin Elementary School is actually not the only beneficiary of this partnership. The company has reached out and helped kids using LEGO through sponsored CSR events before at other different locations.
The company’s efforts to help the local town and community, and San Joaquin Elementary School in particular, goes way beyond sponsoring educational CSR events for the student body. Some of the buildings and structures in the surprisingly well-appointed school were donated by Sumitomo Heavy Industries Manufacturing & Services.
The main highlight of the CSR event was the LEGO Workshop and free play period wherein the participating children were given the chance to recreate a miniature LEGO version of a real life excavator machine by Sumitomo Construction Machinery Co., Ltd which is the Sumitomo Group company that manufactures and sells construction machinery. To underscore the importance of the event, Jumpei Mitsui was flown to the country to attend the CSR and hopefully inspire the next generation of creative builders. Mitsui is one of only fourteen LEGO Certified Professionals in the entire world, with each one having received special recognition from the LEGO company for his or her building proficiency, his or her mastery and enthusiasm for the LEGO brick and building system, as well as his or her professional approach towards building a community with other LEGO fans across the globe along with the public at large.
LEGO’s participation in these CSR efforts is a match made in heaven. Sumitomo has always been committed to reaching out and touching base with the communities around it, an investment in changing the world for the better. Sumitomo hopes to spark a love for learning and creative thinking in the next generation, a task that LEGO is ideally suited to helping Sumitomo accomplish with their decades of experience in that arena.
“I started playing with LEGO in my childhood, around one year old,” shares Mitsui. “I just never stopped playing.” A professional engineer by trade, Jumpei would eventually find himself leaving his position at a steel manufacturing plant to pursue his love and passion for LEGO full-time as a LEGO certified professional.
Jumpei believes that LEGO remains an invaluable training tool for children today. “It’s the best learning tool for trial and error,” he explains. Children can experiment and explore their creativity by themselves with no risk or fear. “And if [what they create] is not good, you can easily disassemble and try again,” says Mitsui.
Jumpei Mitsui personally designed the 97-piece SUMITOMO Excavator kit that the children were tasked to complete. Mitsui says that despite the seemingly high number of pieces, he kept the kit simple enough for even young children to figure out by themselves. His main challenge was keeping that simplicity without sacrificing the accuracy and the “coolness” of the model. It was a difficult balancing act to be sure but judging from the delighted and awed faces of the children participating in the event, it was one that Mitsui succeeded in achieving.
The Sumitomo excavator kit is modeled after a real-life piece of the SH210-6 which is one of the most fuel-efficient hydraulic excavators of the Sumitomo Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. This model along with the SH130-6 is exhibited at the 2019 PhilConstruct Expo which runs from November 7-10, 2019 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. These models have acquired high satisfaction by customers from Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and other ASEAN countries.
Here in the Philippines, Sumitomo’s hydraulic excavators are distributed by Macro Construction Equipment and asphalt pavers by Kurashiki Equipment Philippines Corporation.