January 19, 2015
Maruoka Yusuke (丸岡佑亮), 17, a senior studying the environment protection against disasters at Hyogo prefectural Maiko High School in Kobe-shi, is involved in disaster prevention activity using sign language.
When he was a freshman, he heard disaster experience of the Great Hanshin Earthquake from his mother who was a clerical worker at a hospital in the city in 1995 then. He later participated in volunteer activities related to the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake in 2011, being interested in disaster prevention.
Maiko High School cooperates with four Special Support Schools in Hyogo-ken, including a school for the Deaf, is also working on a study how to support persons with disabilities at the time of a disaster. When he was a sophomore, Maruoka visited Kobe Special Support School for the Deaf, but he was not able to understand what Deaf students said. He said to himself then, "What can I help them when a disaster happens?"
He went to a sign language class in Kobe-shi for half year from March, 2014, learned sign language in the beginner's course that one can explain a refuge process in case of emergency, etc. When he visited the school for the Deaf again for an exchange program on December 17, 2014, he introduced himself using sign language, and he was warmly welcomed by the Deaf students' smiles.
Maruoka said, "Deaf people sign too fast for me to follow, so I'd like to study more." Even he will specialize in the field related to the protection against disasters at a university.