“Simply walking through the rooms is an obstacle course” shared Ms. Uchida, a single mother residing in Tokyo. Ms. Uchida is currently raising a young child while battling a chronic disease. She is unable to be employed because of her health condition, although she desires to keep her place clean to be able to raise her child as best as she can.

When her child was still quite young, they were living in a 2LDK house but they had to move to a smaller apartment. Ms. Uchida recalls that place being much smaller than her current one; the cardboard boxes would be stacked up until the ceiling. Then, three years ago she moved into her current apartment. When Ms. Uchida was consulting with Habita Japan, she expressed how “[her] child would stumble over the things in the room.” When our staff visited her house, they found that there was no room for resting your feet as a result of all the luggage that was scattered around. Like any mother, Ms. Uchida also desires for her child to be raised in a healthy environment. However, in addition to her limited health function, she doesn’t have any family and friends to rely on. She claims to be stuck in this situation for the past 3 years.

As part of the Habitat mission, we decided to support Ms. Uchida by improving her living environment. However, since this project commenced at the beginning of the year, during Japan’s state of emergency, only 2 staff members were available to visit Ms. Uchida’s home. Each were designated one different room to clean up.

For the bedroom, they started by clearing out the items on the floor. During the second visit, they aimed to create the room arrangement desired by Ms. Uchida, and they did this by rearranging the clothing rack and cleaning her closet. Her closet was an old-fashioned model, and she was not utilizing the space efficiently. Therefore, they decided to furnish the closed with some storage shelves. On the third visit, which was the final day, they set up a fourth shelf in the closet, and they stored items that were remaining on the floor into this shelf. The storage shelves that were used in this project were handmade by the Habitat staff using donated wooden boards. Upon seeing how well these shelves fit into the closet, Ms. Uchida and her child were overjoyed and applauded their hard work.

When our staff first visited Ms. Uchida’s home, they were doubtful about whether they would be able to successfully clean the two rooms in three days. However, with the help of Ms. Uchida, they were able to clean and organize both the rooms. During the second visit, one of the staff members shared this with a beaming smile: “We were able to dispose boxes that were lying around for a long time.” Ms. Uchida reflects on this experience saying, “For someone like me who has a weak judgement, it was effective for me to divide the work into three parts. I was able to gain a better understanding of things, I learned that I cannot make judgements alone, and I was able to throw away things that I couldn’t before.”

Project HomeWorks is able to continue such support activities because of the donations we receive from supporters. To continue supporting us, please donate here.