TOKYO (October, 2017) – This October marked one year since Bank of America Merrill Lynch joined hands with Habitat for Humanity Japan for the first time. Its volunteer team visited the same foster home as last year and gave support for the children and their home.

In Japan, there are 45 thousand children that cannot live with their biological parents and need “social care,” and 30 thousand of them are living at foster homes.

This August, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) proposed “the new vision of social fostering” to present the future image of how social care for children should be in Japan. The vision targets that 75% of the children that needs social care be entrusted to foster parents in the next seven years and that the number of “special adoption” cases be doubled to 1,000 in five years. The government aims to let the children be nurtured in a more family like environment instead of at facilities. The background of children who need social care have changed with the times, and so has the role of foster homes. The new target the government presented drew a lot of attention from the social workers and the media.

Bott Memorial Home is a foster home located in a quiet residential area of Machida city, Tokyo. It has built new homes for the children outside the premises but in the same community to accord with the policies that have been put forth by the government, and so less children live now in the main facilities that were built more than forty years ago. Yet it remains home to some 15 children. Habitat has been supporting the improvement of the living environment of the old buildings.

On October 28th, fifteen volunteers from Bank of America Merrill Lynch came to Bott Memorial Home and painted the inner walls of two of the main buildings. The volunteers who participated in the last year’s event took the lead in the activities. The team finished moving furniture and masking up the floors in the morning and then had a big barbecue lunch with the children.

All the food disappeared quite quickly even though we prepared more food than last year! The children were a little shy but welcomed volunteers friendly. It rained a little in the afternoon but the team was able to finish all the tasks of painting before the rain got heavy. With the walls that used to have stains that now look brighter make the home more warm and comfortable for the children.
We are able to continuously support the children at Bott Memorial Home because we have strong support from our corporate partners and enthusiastic volunteers. The role of foster homes are changing in this country, but they will remain to be important places for children. Habitat Japan will continue to help improve the living conditions of foster homes in order to realize our vision of “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

Thank you very much for all your hard work, Bank of America Merrill Lynch volunteers!!