Monthly meeting for Japanese Deaf youth gives a chance to grow up better

The staff of the Deaf section of the Independent Living Center, called "Mainstream Society," located in Nishinomiya City near Kobe City, started "WAKAMON (the Youth) Meeting" that the Deaf youth meet once a month. (See the photo in the Japanese edition)

The staff members, Kanako Haruyama (32) and Fumio Harabuchi (48), both Deaf, started the activities of the Deaf section two years ago. They have offered counseling service related to deafness two times a month. Then they have become concerned the fact that few Deaf youth have visited the society.

The staff arranged a meeting of about 10 young Deaf persons from teens to thirties. At the monthly meeting some young Deaf complain that they can't sing a song, so they won't enjoy karaoke with hearing friends. Some say the support to Deaf students varies with schools and it is hard to know what kind of support will be provided.

Haruyama stresses that the Deaf are misunderstood because people believe they can live without difficulties in spite of deafness. She also said that care for the Deaf is socially underestimated.

She hopes that the monthly meeting will give the Deaf youth a chance to discuss what problems they have faced and to grow up with self-confidence through the program.

The two-day workshop camp will be planned at a natural park center on November 15-16 to deepen the fellowship exchange.

Source: Kobe Shimbun, Nov. 4, 2008
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