Seeking to empower and help lone mothers find employment, Habitat Japan has been working to implement the Barclays LifeSkills Programme at 9 shelters in Kanagawa, including those that Habitat Japan has repaired in the past.

On a clear autumn day on October 28th, volunteers from Barclays and student members of Habitat Japan’s campus chapters volunteered to hold a LifeSkills session during one shelter’s monthly mother and child events.

To help mothers discover jobs that are most suitable for them, a career consultant was invited to this event to hold a class on job aptitude. During the class, participants worked using 72 different job cards and started by organizing them into “want” “don’t want” and “neither” categories. These cards are one important educational tool used to help users find patterns and increase knowledge on one’s own interests and special skills. One volunteer from Barclays helped support mothers so that they could classify all their cards. Meanwhile campus chapter volunteers ran a “Job Discovery Game” for the children. Using art made by student volunteers, participants had fun finding tools for a given job on a card or moving their body while learning about different careers.

Since it was the weekend, a total of 9 mothers and 14 children were able to attend this event. With the help of volunteers, the mothers were able to sit down and take the time to reflect on themselves. At the end of the day, some mothers told us “I was able to reconfirm what I want to do” and “since I was able to find out what I like, I was able to expand broaden the range of jobs I might like.” Using their likes to orient themselves, the mothers were able to learn the importance of finding their own passion.

To the mothers and children who find themselves victims of domestic violence and financial hardships, shelters act as an indispensable place to rest, recharge, and create a new and stable foundation for the future. Through the education and opportunities made possible by the Barclays LifeSkills Programme, Habitat Japan continues to support the independence of lone mothers.