Obaa-chan in the cloud

In Japan, we have more people over the age of 65 per capita in the world.

We also have less children under 15 per capita in the world.

Our team at YouMeWe (NPO) are launching a new project, years in the making called "Obaa-chan in the cloud" (Grandmother in the cloud).

Our endeavor is to have the children living in the homes, who do not have grandparents, interview the elderly and capture their life’s stories digitally. We will archive these audio/video files on YouTube and the Library of Congress for future generations to access.


Following a succesful ideathon in June 2018 to brainstorm ways to create meaningful interaction and building digital literacy skills, YouMeWe is partnering with StoryCorps to produce interview videos. Children from different orphanages in Japan will learn interview skills and ask senior citizens to tell their life stories. Once done, the videos will be uploaded into YouMeWe's independent Youtube accounts.  

We are looking for a Tokyo-based volunteer to help YouMeWe interpret English to Japanese or Japanese to English for a full day of video filming. YouMeWe's beneficiaries speak in Japanese, however we are anticipating other volunteers in charge of video filming to need some help speaking in Japanese. Hence we'd like someone to come to the shooting set and interpret.

YouMeWe is doing a full-on production project, however we will have different volunteers engage in different stages of production, in order to have volunteers contribute in the area of their expertise. If you are interested in using your English-Japanese language skills to tell stories of some of the most vulnerable citizens in Japan, you are more than welcome to contribute to our project.

About StoryCorps (https://storycorps.org/):

Our mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.

About YouMeWe (https://www.youmewenpo.org/):

We are a Tokyo-based non-profit organization with more than 10 years of experience building supporting relationships with local children's home (orphanages). Our NPO's primary mission is to help children growing up in institutionalized homes to become fully capable and financially independent young adults as they reach the age of 18 and prepare to leave the home - whether it is off to university, technical school, or to a new job.  

We have 7 interns for the summer to work with us and they will be partly focused on the structure of the Obaa-chan in the cloud project.

“Obaa-chans” Skyping with children in Tohoku and Tokyo!

Having consulted with Ma-chan, our 83 year old volunteer, she feels that the elderly are too shy to be asked to mentor straight away.

  • She suggested SmartPhone classes where the children teach the elderly how to use smartphones.

  • IchigoJam were they learn to code together on small 4,500 yen devices

  • Ultimately, we have decided to start with STORY CORPs where the children can interview the elderly about their story (lives) and upload the content to YOUTUBE.