Visual limitations should not limit one’s quality of life, yet for the millions of individuals who live with visual impairments and blindness, opportunities and pursuit of independence are often far from reach. Relying on family and loved ones can often lead to stressful and strained relationships as well as frustration for the visually impaired, as their body, mind, and personal determination strive to live a life assimilated with the rest of society.
Tokyo Metropolitan Welfare Association for the Blind understands this situation intimately, having been founded by individuals who are also visually impaired. Chairman, Yoshihiko Sasagawa, and Vice Chairman, Hiroyuki Takahashi, and his group of “Pioneers” have been hard at work to create opportunities and a network of resources for the 40,000 visually impaired living in Tokyo and nearby regions. For more than a decade, the Pioneers have been receiving recycled paper and reproducing and crafting beautifully designed stationary for sale. The revenues generated by the sale of these goods help support the activities and people who turn to the Association for financial, emotional, and physical assistance.
For Rimini Street Japan Team’s Volunteer Month activity, we visited with our friends at the Tokyo Metropolitan Welfare Association to learn firsthand, the process of producing stationary by using touch and non-visual sensory cues, and immediately placed an order to gift to more than 100 attendees of our Fall Client Event in Japan for CIOs and technology leaders. We were also given a moving performance by Pioneer Ran Kato, who is a remarkable singer, songwriter, and pianist.
Organizations such as the Toko Metropolitan Welfare Association are essential to our global community, advocating for equality and rights for the visually challenged while providing a sense of pride and importance of Pioneers near and far in the ecosystem we all are lucky to share together.