In June, we had a volunteer from Japan work at SCIL for three weeks, to discover more about the Disabled People’s Movement in the UK. Asami visited many other places in the UK and in Europe after visiting us. Asami has now returned to Japan and sent us this article about her time in Southampton:
I visited UK from Japan to find out about the issues around independent living of Disabled People. I have visual impairment myself and have been working at small Disabled organization in Japan.
From June to July, I spent 3 weeks with SCIL and had a great experience there. I accompanied some home visits, attended the meetings and events, heard about their various work and discussed issues around Disabled People etc. At first time, I was a little nervous with new environment but people at SCIL are friendly, so I felt at home very soon.
I enjoyed most of the time and found some interesting and new ideas. For example, I am impressed that quite a few Disabled workers are working as a support worker but having a personal assistant at work (Access to Work) They can get support to go to work or for the home visit or to do paper work etc. it seemed a good role model and very encouraging. In Japan, we have a scheme similar to Access to Work but because of very limited resources, many people are not able to get the support they need.
Also, it was interesting to know how disabled people can use Direct Payments as we don’t have such scheme. I had a chance to get a feel of the challenge to Disability Discrimination and promote user involvement. On the other hand, it seemed that there were same situations that we are facing in Japan.
Getting care is becoming difficult and you have to pay towards the care even if you have not enough income and so many people remain at home, and it is difficult to participate in the society. However, it was great that we were able to share our experience each other. I am sure we have a same goal.
We need to keep working for all disabled people to be able to live independently and make inclusive society. Thank you again. I have got back to Japan on 22nd September with great memories. It would be great if SCIL could come to visit us in Japan someday. I hope to keep in touch.