Mattel, the leading global toy manufacturer, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its Barbie Dream House by supporting Habitat for Humanity's efforts to address housing issues around the world. This year, Mattel International K.K., its Japanese subsidiary, provided funds and volunteers for Habitat Japan’s local initiatives.

Recently, seventeen Mattel employees volunteered at three facilities to improve the living environment for vulnerable children. In addition, the company donated toys, including a Barbie Dream House, to each location. The three projects included funding repairs of an orphanage in Kanagawa Prefecture and sending volunteers to two facilities in Yokohama City to make improvements in those facilities that provide after-school care for children. Those children come from families with a mother who is either chronically ill or too busy with work to take care of them after school. 

With only limited staff, the yard of one facility became overgrown with weeds and trees. "It would be great if we could let the kids play outside and enjoy 'Suikawari(Japanese watermelon splitting game)' during the summer," said one employee. In response, Habitat and five Mattel employees helped the facility's staff trim and clean the yard. Despite the hot and humid day and the occasional rain, the volunteers were filled with enthusiasm and the vision of children happily playing outside. By the day's end, everyone shared a sense of satisfaction after transforming that yard into a place where the kids could finally enjoy outdoor activities. One volunteer said that in her office, they use the slogan "Bringing Smiles to Children," which made the volunteer work even more meaningful as it truly did bring smiles to the children.

Habitat Japan is grateful for the time and effort given by the volunteers from Mattel, making it possible to provide safer and more decent places for vulnerable children to live.