WITH offers persons with disabilities a place to work and to acquire skills before integrating into the society. However, for persons with visual impairments whether totally blind or partially sighted, it is very difficult even just to come to WITH. Especially, the first barrier that those who lost their eyesight in the middle of their life face is the mobility inconvenience that they cannot go to wherever they want to whenever they wish to.
It is said that each year as many as 15,000 to 20,000 people become visually impaired in the middle of their life. Most of them do not, can not, or are prohibited to go out from their house and are obliged to live without participating in any social activities.
Therefore, by setting WITH as a target objective, it becomes their first goal to step out of their house, go through the city, and come to WITH. In order support them in achieving this goal, WITH provides them Orientation and Mobility Training (O&M), from their house to nearby public transportations and also to WITH.
It is important for persons with visual impairments to receive education, learn culture and get information. WITH offers various opportunities to learn “mind and skills to live as a person with visual impairments” such as Braille and Computer literacy as well as other skills like cooking.
With cooperation of the Hamamatsu City authorities, “Training Program of Activities of Daily Living of Persons with Visual Impairments” was authorized and the city has conducted it as its independent municipal project since 2003.
Apart from the services for those who come to WITH, the O&M instructors of WITH respond to the raising needs of other people who are referred to from ophthalmologists, municipal office, or schools for the blind in Hamamatsu City. (Shizuoka Prefecture also started the same services since 2004.)
These activities are a part of “Rehabilitation of Persons with Visual Impairments”. Japan is less advanced in the field of rehabilitation and Shizuoka Prefecture is particularly less so in comparison with other prefectures in Japan.
WITH encourages persons with visual impairments, who stay in at home and never go out from house, to come out to the society, and at the same time WITH advocates the society to naturally accept and give support to those with disabilities who have come out to the society.
For many years WITH have conducted “Training Courses of Guide Helper for Persons with Visual Disabilities” and “Courses of Volunteers” not only in Hamamatsu City but all over Japan as a part of Rehabilitation Projects for the Persons with Visual Impairments.