Written with extracts translated from Jiji
May 10 2020
HOKKAIDO – The spread of the new coronavirus has brought about great changes in the working environment for people with intellectual disabilities who work in welfare work areas. While there are some people with disabilities who have seen a drastic decrease in work orders and are forced to work at home without assistance staff, there are also people with disabilities who work hard to contribute to the local community by making masks.
The number of coffee shop customers at the Yui Yui Honpo welfare business in Higashikagura , Hokkaido, which supports people with intellectual disabilities and people with autism, has dramatically decreased people with disabilities.
Approximately 20 people made curry rice and snacks at a coffee shop at facility but after the new coronavirus epidemic, there were days when there were no customers. Valuable places that can lead to independent living via interaction with local residents through customer service and discussions on store management are being lost.
Masato Nonomura, the managing NPO corporation, decided to sell handmade masks in the middle of March, not keeping an eye on the situation. “There are some people who are in serious trouble because of lack of masks,” he asked for the cooperation of commuters. A mask made by sewing two paper towels with a sewing machine costs 100 yen per set (2 pieces). Even if you make about 50 sets a day, they are selling so much that they cannot catch up.
Nonomura sats that “people with disabilities are laughing while they are doing it”. “We are recovering the time to interact with the residents, such as being asked to’make it more face-to-face ‘,” he said. Asahi Inafune (25), a commutator, also smiles, saying “I’m happy to help people.”
Noboru Imamura, they deputy director of the “National Center for Independent Living Centers”, to which 122 welfare centers belong, said, “It is necessary to create an environment where people with disabilities can work easily, even if the situation changes due to the new virus. “.