In Japan, it is estimated that there are over 30,000 children in more than 600 orphanages spread across the country with another 14,000 in foster homes and countless on the streets.
Colt Japan’s 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partner YouMeWe’s mission is to help these children fulfil their potential by becoming self-sufficient and preparing them for a world of work that has been drastically transformed by technology. Young people entering today’s workplace are expected to possess digital skills and competencies that simply didn’t exist ten years ago.
But these same young people are also driving change. A report conducted by analyst house IDC notes that more than 50% of the Asia Pacific workforce will be made up of millennials by 2020, fuelling adoption of ‘high potential innovation accelerators’ such as augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.
However, with just 5% of children in orphanages in Japan having access to WiFi, these children face an incredible skills gap compared to their peers, especially in a country where having access to the internet and all of its fantastic development opportunities is taken for granted.
If you drill down, success and opportunity is about people connecting. Opportunity typically arises from access to people and relationships, with technology and the internet giving the disenfranchised youth that access. There are seven billion people on earth, five billion are in poverty and 4.5 billion don’t have access to the internet. The inequality is huge. But the more access to technology and the internet there is, the more we can reduce poverty by giving those less fortunate than ourselves access to opportunities. It’s clear that for the battle against poverty, connectivity really does matter.
YouMeWe, Colt Japan’s 2018 CSR partner, is committed to helping the disenfranchised youth in Japan flourish in later life by imparting onto them the digital skills they need to find meaningful employment opportunities.
Headed by Michael Clemons, the organisation has been supporting similar programs across Japan for more than ten years.
“I first got involved in CSR in 2007 when I was asked to play Santa at an orphanage in Tokyo,” Michael said. “It was an eye-opening experience as I realised there were many stories behind why the children were living in the homes. I began to visit the orphanages more and more, helping where I could.
“It quickly became apparent that there would be very hard struggles for some of these kids in the long term if we didn’t act soon. In Japan, you can leave school at the age of 15 and many of the orphans in these homes do. This manifests itself in the fact that just 16% of them go to university versus the national average of 60%. Without proper guidance and access, the children can and have simply fallen out of the system, often ending in prison or on the streets. It’s clear that we can help,” Michael added.
Over the course of 2018 through our partnership with YouMeWe, we’re going to support the development of those less fortunate than ourselves and give Japan’s orphans a fighting chance to flourish. Stay tuned for updates on our mentoring and tutoring programs later in the year.
“You, me, we – with these three things anything is possible,” Michael said.
To find out more about YouMeWe please visit https://www.youmewenpo.org/