AAR Japan has dedicated its support to persons with disabilities (PWDs), who are often pushed into the most vulnerable position, ever since its establishment.
Through the activities to improve economic, psychological, and social self-reliance of PWDs, AAR Japan envisions a society, in which PWDs fully and equally participate regardless of disability and all people support each other, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Creating an Supportive Learning Environment
To support children with wheelchairs go to school, AAR Japan added slopes to the stairs and buit a wheelchair friendly bathroom. Furthermore, AAR Japan provides tailored support to children with disabilities such as glasses for children with weak eyesight and charis for children who has to write with their feet.
Training Teachers: Creating a Structure to Meet the Needs of Children
Children with intellectual disabilities are unable to reach their full intellectual potential if teachers do not have the ability and methodology to teach them. AAR Japan conducts training of teachers and other school administrators.
Ending Discrimination and Stigma of People with Disabilities: Working Together with the Community
Stigma and discrimination towards PWD are deeply rooted in some regions and cultures. Sometimes disabilities are seen as a result of evil deeds in their past lives; and some believe that PWDs cannot do anything. In these areas, PWDs themselves, as well as their families and school administrators, believe that nothing can be done about the education of PWDs. AAR Japan strongly calls on the community at local events, teacher training sessions, and home visits that by using creativity, PWDs can learn and work, and have the right to pursue education and employment.
Vocational Training: Using Creativity to Foster Vocational Skills
AAR Japan has been operating a vocational training center in Myanmar. AAR provides technical training to PWDs to help them gain hairdressing, sewing, or computer skills. To ease their work, AAR creates course that is tailored to their culture and attributes. For example, in Myanmar, trainees learn to sew tailor-made clothing, which is part of their culture. Many graduates are sucessfully employed or begin their own business.
Earning Income through Training
In Laos, PWDs created their own group, and to generate income for their activities, began cultivating plants and animals such as mushrooms, catfish and crickets. Beginning with a small investment, PWDs can now earn an income without heavy physical labor.
In Myanmar, there are children that cannot go to school or community rehabilitation centers because of the level of their disability or their family economic situation. AAR Japan conducts house visits for assessment of the child’s disability and living environment, and finds a way to support that is tailored to the child.
Lin Lei Hay Mahn Ko (age 11), who has cerebral palsy, cannot move the right side of her body. After conducting an assessment, AAR Japan worked with a local carpenter to build a support chair that fits here body and does not deteriorate her physical disability. In Laos, AAR Japan has supported the operation of a wheelchair workshop in cooperation with Lao government, where AAR Japan works to manufacture wheelchairs that are suited to the life needs and body type of each PWD. The workshop proactively employs and trains PWDs as technical experts and staff. By providing mobility devices, AAR Japan aims to enable PWDs to participate more actively in society.
In Cambodia, AAR Japan has supported the local NGO which manufactures and distributes wheelchairs to PWDs.
Leaving No One Behind
In Myanmar, continual rainfall from July 2015 caused massive flooding. At least 117 people lost their lives, 380 thousand households were forced to evacuate, bring the total number of people affected to 1.63miliion (Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement). AAR Japan, in cooperation with MILI, a local organization, provided emergency aid essentials such as water, food, daily life commodities, and crutches to 1,200 households with PWDs in 10 areas such as Rahkine state and Yangon. MILI, an organization of PWDs promoting independent living, were able to accurately assess the needs of PWDs.
Supporting PWDs Escaping Conflict
As the 2011 civil war in Syria prolong, refugees continue to flee to neighboring countries. Among the reugees are PWDs, who were unable to bring assissting tools/braces/machines. AAR Japan assess their need and provides wheelchairs and crutches to ensure that their stay in a foreign land is a bit less difficult.
Participating in international and national conferences
AAR Japan participates in regional conferences on the rights of PWD and international conferences that promote self-sufficiency, to share project experiences and advocacy. In September 2016, at the 2nd Community-based Rehabilitation Congress (CBR) convened in Malaysia, AAR Japan presented on Cambodian project.