Project to promote understanding of persons with disabilities in Sapporo City

Children introduce themselves by sign language as Takashima (left), a Deaf lecturer, watched them.
(photo: http://mainichi.jp/hokkaido/shakai/news/20110818hog00m040008000c.html)


August 18, 2011

To promote the children to understand about disability, the project that the Sapporo City social welfare council in Hokkaido Prefecture has a program that they send the person with disability to the school as a lecturer, which has attracted attention.

Since this program started in autumn, 2010, the reputation extended through publications and by word of mouth, and accordingly more requests have been made to the council. Many people have also applied for the lecturer.

"Let's show something around us here by the gesture," TAKASHIMA Masahiro (55), secretary-general of the Sapporo Deaf Association, called 33 third graders in sign language at the South Swamp Elementary School in the city in June, which was interpreted by HISAMATSU Ayako, a staff member of the association. The children looked at each other and laughed after they made the gesture.

"Our disability is so invisible that it is hard to believe we are Deaf. Even if the earthquake happens, we don't hear the tsunami warning," signed Masahiro. The children listened attentively quietly.

In the end of the lecture, a child seemed to be reluctant to part. One of the girls spoke the impression, saying "I want to talk more with the teacher in sign language". The principal said expecting the result of the lecture, "The children were sure not to forget the experience through life though it was short today".

The social council used to send its staff member with disability to schools. They started the program that the lecturer who was recruited last September because there were a lot of requests and consultations had gone up to now. There were 28 lecturers last year. It is scheduled 28 times by the end of August at current year. They expect that the request increases when school events are less after autumn.

The council officials said, "The project is valuable that not only school children understand disability but also the opportunity for the person with disability will be more active. We are interested in offering the program to the enterprise, etc for the training".


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