Who changes baby’s diapers at your home? Mom’s and dad’s cooperative work? Babysitters? Well, at ‘Yui-no-ie’, nursery in Ishinomaki, it is often older kids who change babies’ diapers and put them down for a nap.
Since its launch on February, 2013, Yui-no-ie has been providing not only day-care for children under five-year old but after-school care for children over six. This mixture gives great opportunities for both age-groups of kids; older kids who first said they were not good at playing with youngsters became responsible for taking care of them. ‘Now I know how tough work moms are doing,’ said one of the older girls, whereas younger kids who used to be shy with new people now run up to them, every time they see the older.
Thanks to word-of-mouth of user parents, Yui-no-ie has gradually become well-known in the local community, with the total number of child-days usage reaching over 1,200 as of the end of September, 2013.
One of the flagship services includes a special assist program for job-seeking parents. Under Japanese law, only parents who have jobs are qualified to use an official day-care center, which means that those who look for jobs are not eligible. This is problematic as lack of access to nursery service often prevents parents from actively searching their jobs. We, Project YUI wanted to address this issue via Yui-no-ie and are providing the special program to job-seeking parents for certain period of time for free. Results? Seven moms have used the program, four of which have successfully found their new jobs!! We will continue the program to help parents become financially more sustainable.
This month, three more nurses are joining to serve growing needs, especially in the early morning. Furthermore, the second Yui-no-ie will be soon opening to serve not only as nursery and after-school care center but as a community space where kids, parents and older people could get together. Thanks to contribution from number of donors and GlobalGiving, we will be keeping up the pace and report on further progress!
In Japan, a new academic year starts in April with full blooming cherry trees. To help kids affected by earthquake and tsunami be able to enjoy a hopeful beginning of their new academic year, Project YUI sent over one hundred volunteers to Ishinomaki area.Many school buildings there were severely damaged that forced children of damaged schools go to another school. Now, such schools are under the process of merger which requires significant work for not only accepting all the students from multiple schools to one school building but letting them have hopeful, enjoyable and learningful time at their new school while avoiding sense of loss for their original one.Volunteers sent by Project YUI helped this by painting all the doors, walls, entrances of the new school with a lot of pastel colored paint. How did children, parents and teachers find the change? The unusual colored school building surprised them, in a favorable way: “Wow, it became completely a new school!”“I can be much more positive with the new colorful building!”All the work was done by volunteer-basis: paint was contributed by paint companies, volunteers such as local high school students, parents, business people in Tokyo worked together for a week. With the collective support, the Ishinomaki students had their fun first day at the pastel colored building.
Yui-no-ie (House of YUI), our new nursery has been opened in Nakazato area of Ishinomaki in February, 2013.
The nursery is built to support not only babies/kids in tsunami devastated areas most of who still live in temporary house complexes but also their parents, especially mothers who want to find new jobs but face difficulties to secure their time to find jobs and work as they need to take care of their children. Yui-no-ie is also intended to be a hub of 'mom community' where mothers can casually get together.
Several local children's nurses have been hired to work, and since its first day, many kids have been enjoying spending their time at the nursery! We are going to open the second nursery in another area in Ishinomaki.
This will be Project YUI's forth core activities to support children in tsunami-devastated areas in addition to 1) Minna-no-ba (supporting play and learning for kids in after-school time by sending volunteers), 2) Special learning events (providing special learning opportunities for kids in alliance with corporations/NPOs), and 3) School support (supporting local school teachers by providing volunteer work forces).
Ever since a big earthquake and tsunami hit northeast areas of Japan, opportunities to learn and play for tens of thousands of children have been significantly decreased. A field trip to local companies to learn how society/economy is mutually connected and meaning and diversity of work is one of them. In Ishinomaki, one of the most devastating coastal cities, too many companies were severely damaged by the tsunami, and still virtually no company can accept such a field trip for junior high students.
To provide opportunities to learn from diverse work/job, Project YUI sent 25 working people to a junior high school in Ishinomaki, to give a special class on career development. The 25 volunteers include flight attendant, food marketing planner, owner of flower shop, software engineer, car designer, dog trainer, professional soccer player, management consultant, and auto mechanics to share their professional experience and how they developed their career with over 180 students.
This special session has launched last year, with a request from a principal of one of junior high schools in Ishinomaki.
Students attended two sessions based on a speaker/job list shared in advance, and had a lecture and interactive discussion with a small group of 6-7 students.
The sessions were very well received by both students and teachers, and our project is expanding this type of support to other schools.
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