After lunch five participants moved to Izumizaki village where Cocoron, a living support center for persons with mental disability is located.
Director of Cocoron explained about the facilities and activities as follows;
Cocoron was established in Izumizaki village in Fukushima Prefecture in March in 2004 as the center to support living of persons with mental disability in the community. At that time there were very few facilities which are unable to cover the area of population with 150,000 in the southern part of Fukushima Prefecture. The name “Cocoron” was selected from the public. Two years prior to the establishment of Cocoron NPO was set up with people from different field including a medical doctor of mental illness for the preparation of the formation of the center to support people with mental disability who return to the society. It started from counseling service for persons with mental disability and their family members who have had difficulty in the community. People with mental disability need a place to get counseling service anytime, and people’s understanding. Then they may feel release and security. Based on such needs, Cocoron aims to support the community as a whole so that people with and without disability can live with security. With the support of Fukushima Prefecture Cocoron organized the workshop on community building and networking, inviting a resource person outside of the village.
After that five participants were invited to present their job reports to the members of Cocoron. Many questions and comments were given to them and the members could learn about the employment situations of persons with disabilities in participants’ countries.
At night a welcome party was held at Cocoron and more than 60 people including Mayor and workers of Izumizaki village and supporters in the community came to see and talk to JICA participants. A lot of foods and drinks were prepared by supporters and laid out on the table. Participants could have a lively conversation with community people. It was a wonderful and memorable night!