Second mini meeting in 2023.*

  On January 29, we had the second mini meeting this year with Sagami Women’s University group and Vietnamese group. To our relief, the new infection of Covid-19 in Tokyo has been declining. Still, we limited the number of participants and took full measure for Covid-19. To read more,,,

 First meeting in 2023.*

  On January 15, we had the first meeting in 2023. We had wondered whether we’d be able to hold a meeting as Tokyo’s new infection on previous Friday was 11,241. To read more,,,

 Final meeting in 2022.*

  On December 25, 2022, we had this year’s final meeting with Vietnamese group. The new infection in Tokyo was 15,403 as of Dec. 23, which was large enough for us to think of cancelling the meeting, applying it to our criteria so far.
To

 Report from Paraguay.*

  The ship loaded with 90 wheelchairs for Paraguay departed the port of Tokyo in March 2022 and reached Asuncion Villa Mora Lions Club on August 11. It was a six-month long journey. We’ve just received a report from Lions Club that they provided all the donation along with wheelchairs for children, hospitals, and facilities. The following items were presented this time.
  1) 90 units of children’s wheelchairs
  2) 30 sketchbooks
  3) 24 boxes of crayons
  4) 48 cushions
  5) 30 pairs of woolen gloves
  6) 30 woolen caps
  7) 18 neck-pillows
The above items, other than wheelchairs, were donated with the support of Ocean Network Express Japan, ONE Japan.

  We’ve also got the following documents from Lions Club.
  1) Certificate of commendation (both in Spanish and Japanese)
  2) Letter of thanks (both in Spanish and Japanese)
  3) Report (both in Spanish and Japanese)
  4) Newspaper article
  5) List of recipients (not listed due to personal information)
  6) Photos of the children and the presentation (see below)

<Summary of the Report>
-A press conference was held inviting children with disabilities and their parents,
  hospital administrators, Lions club officials, and members of the media,
  including newspapers and television.
-All the donated items were displayed at the press conference. The decision to
  provide the wheelchair was based on the doctor’s diagnosis and the family’s
  financial situation. They also asked the recipients to submit a copy of their ID.
-Lions club members were instructed to seek out children from low-income
  families in need of wheelchairs in their communities, and many requests
  were found.
-Wheelchairs were provided for not only for children at home but also for
  hospitals and welfare facilities, which expanded the distribution to all of
-The crayons and other items received before Children’s Day on August 16 were
  given to children being treated at hospitals. They were greatly appreciated.
-They would like to thank our NGO, Tokyo Akishima Chuo Club, ONE Japan
  and the embassy of Paraguay in Japan for the cooperation and support
  in making this donation.

  The following is the comment at the end of the report.
“We consider that we have achieved the goal of extending our hands to people who need help most, especially those who live far away from cities and are forgotten by associations which support children with disabilities. For us, this activity was a new experience with a lot of emotions. We believe that we have lived up to the expectations and trust placed in the members of the Asunción Villa Mora Lions Club.”

 The letter of commendation and report we received was a very thorough and contented document. We were able to learn more about what has been going on at the site since the wheelchairs were received. Despite being on the other side of the world, we can clearly see the children and the activities of Lions club.
 The support of the Tokyo Akishima Chuo Rotary Club and ONE Japan was essential to the realization of this activity. It is also our pleasure that the local community understands this.

 We have also received support for this project from the Paraguayan Ambassador to Japan and embassy personnel. In particular, Ambassador Raul Alberto Florentin Antola, Paraguayan Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Japan, came out of his way to load the wheelchairs into a container and politely thanked President Morita for his assistance(click here for details). Since this project was made possible by the support we received from various sources, knowing how carefully the wheelchairs were handled after they were received, we hope to get similar support the next time and send wheelchairs to the Lions Club of Paraguay again!

December 15, 2022      Secretariat

Photos from Paraguay
Click on the photos to enlarge them and view them consecutively.

Wheelchairs unloaded from containers and lined up inside the Lions Club facility.

Press Conference.

(Left) A piece of paper with the name of the child to be received is attached to the wheelchair.
(Right) Recipient child, mother, and Lions Club staff.

(Left) Recipient child and her parents.
(Right) Wheelchair with flags of our NGO, the Tokyo Akishima Chuo Rotary Club, ONE Japan and Embassy of Paraguay in Japan.

Children on their wheelchairs. A new life begins today.

(Left) Memorial ceremony at Itacurubí del Rosario. San Pedro
(Right) Recipient family going home.

(Left) Delivering wheelchairs to each child at home.
(Right) Sany Mabel Ramos, enjoying her wheelchair.

 Mini-meeting in the eighth wave.*

  On December 11, 2022, we had a regular mini-meeting with Sagami Women’s University group and Vietnamese group.   To read more,,,

 Mini-meeting only with staff members.*

  We have been holding small meetings with around ten participants on the second and fourth Sunday since the corona crisis. We have also limited to regular members, Sagami Women’s University group and Vietnamese group.   To read more,,,

 Second meeting with Bloomberg L.P. employees.*

  On Tuesday November 22, we had a second meeting with Bloomberg L.P. employees. Eleven people participated in the event. They came to our warehouse at 1 pm after working in the morning at their office in Tokyo and having lunch in the microbus.  To read more,,,

 We’ve sent 37 wheelchairs to Pakistan. *

  It was in September this year that we received a request to provide children’s wheelchairs from Mr. Sho Saito of Saito Kobo Ltd., who manages the NPO Sakura Wheelchair Project. He intended to send the wheelchairs with its electric wheelchairs to Milestone Society for Special Persons in Pakistan.

  We got 37 children’s manual wheelchairs and 5 electric ones ready and delivered them to Bando City, the container loading area. We chose manual ones in good shape as there was not enough time for us to do complete refurbishing. As for electric ones, we asked Mr. Saito to do necessary maintenance. The partner in Pakistan is said to have ability to clean and refurbish wheelchairs.

  Container loading at Bando City was done by Sakura Wheelchair Project members on October 15. There was no participant from our NGO. 130 electric wheelchairs (5 out of them are from our NGO), 200 batteries, and 37 manual wheelchairs were loaded into the container, which was brought into the container yard in Yokohama on that day and departed for the port of Karachi, Pakistan at 16:20 Thursday, October 27. It’s scheduled to arrive at Karachi port on November 13.
  This is the second shipment to Pakistan this year, after April 2022. With the addition of the 37 units sent this time, we now have sent 117 units to the Milestone Society for Special Persons. Since the Society has high technology and strong organizational ability, we’d like to continue sending them wheelchairs in the future.

October 30, 2022      Secretariat

〇Container loading at Bando City

(Left)Packed and wrapped in green tape are children’s wheelchairs waiting to be loaded.
(Right)Manual children’s wheelchairs are loaded at the far end.

(Left)Inside the container is a shelf for loading efficiency.
(Right)Using the shelf, all the load was put into the container.

Loading finished. Great work!
Fifth from the left is Mr. Saito, president of Saito Kobo and head of the Sakura Wheelchair Project.

  Minimum mini-meeting with 5 volunteers. *

  On October 23, we had a literally ‘mini’ meeting, the minimum meeting ever with two members from Sagami Women’s University group and three from Vietnamese group.  To read more,,,

  10th anniversary of Sakura Wheelchair Project. *

  NPO Sakura Wheelchair Project, along with our NGO, has been sending wheelchairs to Pakistan and Mongolia. The Project originated from the activities which Mr. Sho Saito, owner of an electric wheelchair manufacturing company, Saito Kobo Ltd., started in 1999. At first their main activity was to go to those countries and teach how to produce or fix wheelchairs.

  After 10 years of its activities, the Project was certified as a non-profit organization in 2011 with the aim of supporting independent living for people with disabilities in Asia, Central America, and other regions. What had made this possible was the cooperation of organizations of people with disabilities, wheelchair industry associations, and Pakistani volunteers living in Japan.

  The unique feature of the Project is that it combines the provision of used wheelchairs to countries that are ready to accept them and the transfer of technology to them. It usually sends manual wheelchairs abroad. As for Pakistan, which has already started producing manual wheelchairs on their own, it sends a container of all electric wheelchairs and holds a refurbishing workshop after the wheelchairs have arrived. Those used electric wheelchairs are provided from users all over Japan.

  So far, the Project has visited nine countries aiming to transfer technology and has sent manual wheelchairs to Nepal and Mongolia. As for electric ones, it has sent about 1300 units to Pakistan, through 20 times container transport as of September 30, 2022. It has also held 15 workshops for Pakistani people. (Unfortunately, it hasn’t been there these three years because of the corona crisis.)

  Electric wheelchairs are far more complicated equipment compared with manual ones which our NGO usually send to overseas children. When they break down or have trouble in developing countries, there’s lack of skill for fixing them or short of parts in most cases. In addition to repairing skills, if there is no fitting skill for each individual with disabilities, the wheelchair may not fit the body, causing secondary disabilities. The precious electric wheelchair will not be used anymore then. It is this Project that aims to avoid such problems, and to help people with disabilities in the country learn maintenance techniques suitable for them, maintain the equipment themselves for their own independence. Its main focus is on human resource development.

  Ten years after its launch, a commemorative event was held on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at the company building of Saito Kobo, where the Sakura Wheelchair Project is based, to report on the Project’s activities. Among the guests of honor was Shafiq Ur-Rahman, head of the Milestone Society for Special Persons, which has successfully embodied Saito’s philosophy in Pakistan. Other guests included the Embassy of Pakistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, JICA, the Duskin AINOWA Foundation (which promotes human resource development support activities in countries in the Asia-Pacific region), and many others who support the Project.

  Our NGO was invited to the event, and President Morita and one of our board members attended. In his speech, Mr. Morita praised the Project’s promotion of human resource development, technical assistance, and local organization, saying that it is very progressive and superior to any other organization.

  In the end, we promised Mr. Shafiq and Mr. Saito that we will continue to send wheelchairs to Pakistan and many other developing countries overseas by strengthening cooperation with the Project.

October 24, 2022      Secretariat

All the attendants at the event.

Mr. Saito, making a report of their activities and expressing gratitude for support.

Mr. Hafiz from the embassy of Pakistan. Mr. Morita, making a speech.

(Left)Mr. Morita with Mr. Shafiq from Milestone Society.
(Right)A plaque was presented by Mr. Shafiq to the representatives of the organizations concerned to thank them for their past support to Pakistan.
“70th” represents the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Japan.