7 participants were divided into 2 groups and one visited WITH in Shizuoka Prefecture and the other visited Fukushino-Machi-Zukurino-Kai in Fukushima Prefecture. We travelled by a famous bullet train so-called Shinkansen and enjoyed a comfortable trip to outside Tokyo. Each group learnt about management of community based workshops.
3 participants from Bhutan, Cambodia and Sri Lanka visited Sheltered Workshop for Persons with Disabilities WITH in Shizuoka Prefecture. WITH is a small-scale workshop established by Mr. Chiaki Shiba in 1995.
– Introduction and meeting with WITH users and staff
– History and philosophy of WITH
– Persons with disabilities also have right to work (UN Declaration of Disabled Persons 1975)
– How persons with disabilities can work?
– Observation of working site
– Work of staff, activities of volunteers
– Subsidy system for workshop, workshop management
– Support system (supporting group and volunteers)
– Network with people in the community
– Oversea aid (e.g. WITH in Sri Lanka)
– Future action plan of WITH
– Observation: Lecture about social welfare in elementary school by Mr. Shiba
– Wrap-up session and conclusion of the three-days training
4 participants from Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan and Philippines visited Fukushino-Machi-Zukurino-Kai (literally meaning a “welfare-town building center) in Fukushima Prefecture. Right in the beginning, we were given an opportunity to make a coutesy visit to the City Hall with Ms. Suzuki, one of the founders of Fukushino-Machi-Zukurino-Kai, and we exchanged opinions with Mr. Akimoto who is in charge of welfare issues.
Ms. Watanabe, director of the center, kindly accompanied us throughout the program. We observed how they bake delicious cookies and cakes and deliver them to a local kindergarten and also souveniour shops at tourist sites.
They also collect various objects from the community and run a recycling shop “Machiko-chan.” Some of participants also enjoyed their shopping here.
“Fukushino-Machi-Zukurino-Kai” has been supporting an Independent Living Center in Philippines by sharing their experiences and skills as well as by financing them. From the reports submitted by the center in Philippines, we could understand that it has been managed well.