Habitat for Humanity Japan
Habitat for Humanity is an international non governmental organization (NGO) that aims to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness around the world. Based on the principles of Christianity, we advocate the importance of adequate housing and build houses as acts of God's love and teachings. As we believe affordable housing is a basic human right, we continue to advocate for having simple but decent house for all people and to build/renovate houses with the volunteers gathered from around the world.
According to the United Nations, more than 120 million people or 1 out of 5 people in the world live under poverty with 1 USD per day (United Nations, 2003). Living under such harsh poverty, the people are not only unable to benefit from education, health and medical support, but also do not have access to social systems such as necessary nutrition, clean water, house, sanitary structures like toilet, bath and sewage, and employment, what is thought to be standard in Japan. The vicious circle of poverty is directly effective to the life and death of many people.
In developing countries, housing in rural areas and urban slums is one of the most urgent issues today. Though Habitat's work is focused on housing, it's playing an important role in generating dignity in people and sense of belongingness in communities.
Besides poverty, disaster and conflict also force people to inadequate living condition. In recent years in Japan, we witnessed many houses being destroyed by earthquakes such as Niigata in 2004, Fukuoka in 2005, Noto Peninsula and Niigata in 2007. Habitat is also working in response to natural disasters to rebuild houses and lives with the victims.
Habitat Japan's recent activities includes supporting the recovery of disaster victims from Northern Pakistan earthquake, floods in Bangladesh, earthquakes in Noto peninsula.
Also in Japan, we work closely to the community.
Often times, elderly households have hardships in daily living as many of them are separated from the civil society. Daily chores like small repairs and rearranging the furniture seems so easy to young people's eyes, yet it is a big burden for the elders. For example, changing a light bulb on the ceiling could be problematic for many people, especially when they don't have anyone to help them.

Domestic Program:
Nakano Smiles Operation
Ms. ARAI Yasuka, junior at KUIS
By joining the project, I have realized the importance of such domestic project. It is easy to imagine that elders living alone often have problem moving heavy furniture like stove heaters in the house. Working on Mr. K's home, we witnessed how difficult it is for the elders to keep the house a comfortable place to live.
It was so easy to put myself into cleaning the house so that I felt time was passing so quickly. Mr. K was very cooperative handing us the cleaning tools and also very appreciative as he shed teas and thanked us at the end of the day. I was moved and glad that I had joined this program because I truly didn't expect only 2 hours of my work would make such big difference in Mr. K's life.
The whole time we were working, Mr. K was telling us not to "clean so well" because he was concerned about the maintenance after we left. It was true to some extend, I thought, such project doesn't have much impact if it's not sustainable. It could be difficult for elders like Mr. K to be independent and self-helping. That is why I hope this project will continue and decided to volunteer again.
Ms. KURATA Ayuko, sophomore at MGU
"Building" houses was my only way of looking at housing issues until I volunteer for this project. There are little needs for Habitat houses in Japan, and even with the needs, it is very difficult to implement. However, I recognize a significant amount of needs for home repairs and cleaning in Japan. Since it only took 2 hours to clean the house, I am confident that campus chapters can step in to make a big impact.
One thing I strongly felt was that volunteers must be sincere and committed to this activity, possibly more so than they are for other programs. Mr. K repeated "that's enough, I wouldn't be able to use things if they are too clean." He might have been caring for us, but to me it sounded as if he was afraid of feeling lonely after we left. I might be wrong about his feelings but I thought that we should continue coming back to Mr. K. I thought that this project takes a good planning and long-term commitment.
With a rapidly growing senior population, we have many households like Mr. K's all over Japan. I am glad that I joined to witness and learn to care for such needs in Japan. I think this project was a success.
Mr. TOMINAGA Kazuya, freshman at AGU
I started to volunteer with Habitat this April. My experience with global village programs showed me the poverty housing issues in various places around the world. However, my attention always was pointed to overseas not in my own country. As I not only "built" but also "cleaned and repaired" a house, I realized the needs for the people who already have a house. For the first time, I looked at the poverty housing issue as something that cannot be solved by just having the house to live. This time, we worked in Nakano but I hope to do the same in other areas of Tokyo as well. I'd keep in my mind the importance of being conscious about the problems in my own country as I continue volunteering with Habitat.
There are many NGOs working on different issues around the world, Habitat is one of a few organizations that considers housing as a solution to many social issues. It is our role to contribute to the society's Safety and Security by providing decent houses to the needy, such as low income families and elderly households.

International Volunteer Programs
Habitat for Humanity has two foreign building volunteer programs: "Global Village" and the "Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP)".
Global Village" is a volunteer program that utilizes the worldwide Habitat network where volunteers spend 7-10 days in a different country building houses. Volunteer teams of 10-25 people are created and are sent to the host country. Participants generally apply as a team, though there are teams that accept independent applicants or teams totally composed of independent applicants.
The Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) is a project where Jimmy Carter, former United States president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and his wife Rosalyn participate in building houses along with other volunteers from all over the world. Every year since 1984 Jimmy Carter has spent a week somewhere in the world building houses along the side of other Habitat volunteers. It's a festival of the volunteers.
*Volunteer and destination
Each year, 700 to 800 volunteers travel from Japan to America, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Fiji, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Romania. One unique characteristics of the Global Village is that all young and old, Japanese and foreign alike create time to participate, and also there are a large number of repeated participants.
Another characteristic is that 80% of our volunteers are students at university and high schools. Therefore Habitat set up the Youth Program to support such young initiatives.

*Youth Program
The Youth Program is to channel the youthful creativity, energy, and aspirations of young supporters into Habitat's various activities so that they can be educated and empowered to end poverty housing worldwide. At the current time, many supporters of Habitat for Humanity Japan belong to student-run Habitat organizations, called Campus Chapters (CC) and Campus Clubs (CClub). Since 1987, about 900 Campus Chapters have been established worldwide. As of October, 2006, eight Campus Chapters and four Campus Clubs are active throughout Japan.

*Campus Chapters and Campus Clubs
Campus Chapters and Campus Clubs are student-run Habitat organizations that are officially recognized and their roles are significant for Habitat's work in Japan. Their three primary roles are:

[Building Houses] Participation in building or renovating houses in cooperation with local Habitat affiliates and homeowners.

[Raising Awareness] Education of the Campus and local communities; informing them of issues related to poverty housing in terms of human rights; spreading information about the activities of Habitat for Humanity.

[Raising Funds] Eliciting financial support for the activities of Habitat for Humanity, such as the collecting of contributions on the street, flea marketa, and the like. Through the activities of a Campus Chapter/Campus Club, students can translate their social concerns into concrete action and work with other participants who share the same goals.
*What Youth Volunteers Are Saying

 (Aoyama Gakuin University)
▲Destination: Pitesti, Romania
▲Trip Date: February 18th to March 3rd, 2008

14 of us joined house building at Taguig city in the Philippines. Habitat community was surrounded by the slum area called "Squatter" separated only with fences. There are 7 nearly completed houses and we started the 8th house's foundation. We also made blocks and painted walls under the kind guidance of the local construction supervisor. We felt welcomed thanks to other local staff, home partners and construction workers smile and care.

▲Team Name: Kyoto Gaidai Habitat
 (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies)
▲Destination: Taguig, Philippines
▲Trip Date: February 20th to February 29th, 2008

14 of us joined house building at Taguig city in the Philippines. Habitat community was surrounded by the slum area called "Squatter" separated only with fences. There are 7 nearly completed houses and we started the 8th house's foundation. We also made blocks and painted walls under the kind guidance of the local construction supervisor. We felt welcomed thanks to other local staff, home partners and construction workers smile and care.

▲Team Name: Kandai Habitat
 (Kansai University)
▲Destination: B. Baria, Bangladesh
▲Trip Date: February 26th to March 9th, 2008

We drove for 20 minutes from our hotel to get to the community each day. We split the team and worked on 2 different sites. Surrounded by the rice fields, the brick house we built was in the community where the home partner's relatives live.
We started digging the ground for foundation, carrying bricks, sand and cement, building brick walls. Home partners seemed distant in the beginning but as we work together, we could break the ice even with the people in the community. I wish we could stay till the completion but the time we spend working together is an irreplaceable experience.

June 30, 2008 / 6:00 pm
Sophia University
Mr. Jonathan Reckford
(Representative of Habitat International)
Sponsored by:
Sophia University Catholic Center, Student Center, Habitat for Humanity Japan
For details:
Tel. 03-3238-4161
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