Tajikistan – AAR JAPAN Sends a Specialist in Disabilities

Providing Advice through Home Visits

With only a partially-developed social welfare system, Tajikistan is one of the poorest of the former Soviet states. AAR JAPAN has been supporting a federation of persons with disabilities in Tajikistan’s capital of Dushanbe to improve the difficult circumstances faced by persons with disabilities.

From April 27th to May 10th, 2011, AAR JAPAN sent Mr. Makoto KONO, an occupational therapist and medical expert from the health department of Kyorin University, to offer consultations and seminars in Dushanbe. Along with staff from the federation of persons with disabilities, Mr. KONO visited children with disabilities at their homes to provide counseling for them and their families. The mother of Anora, a 4-year-old girl whose legs have been affected by spina bifida, asked if the disability could be cured by surgery. Mr. KONO advised her, “It cannot be cured by surgery, but undergoing rehabilitation can enable her to walk.” He further recommended that she go out and actively interact with others.

Mr. KONO gives rehabilitation advice to the family of Anora, a 4-year-old girl with a disability that affects her legs.

Seminar for Staff

AAR JAPAN also conducted a seminar for the staff of the federation of persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, and a day-care facility for children with disabilities. Mr. KONO gave a lecture focusing on community-based rehabilitation (CBR), basic knowledge of disabilities required for welfare providers, and examples of welfare services, based on his experiences working in Uzbekistan. Mr. KONO then offered advice on rehabilitation and daily routines to 2 children and 1 adult with disabilities, allowing the lecture participants to observe procedures for providing key information and inquiring about living conditions. The participants actively expressed their opinions and asked many questions.

People who had heard about Mr. KONO’s visit to Tajikistan, now his fourth, called AAR JAPAN’s Dushanbe office to ask that he visit their facility, or spare just five minutes to see their child. It made me realize how deeply AAR JAPAN’s support has been appreciated by persons with disabilities in Tajikistan.

In the seminar, the participants showed a deep interest in implementing CBR in Tajikistan.

From a Seminar Participant: Ms. Zarina YAKUBOWA (nurse, 43 years old)
“The examples of welfare services in Uzbekistan and Japan were really fascinating. In Tajikistan, there are many children who have been suffering from polio or cerebral palsy, yet have had no chance to be examined by experts. I will continue learning and make use of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained through this seminar in my work.”
(Photo: Ms. YAKUBOWA (left) and Naoko MIYAMOTO, AAR JAPAN (right))

                                                   Naoko MIYAMOTO, AAR JAPAN Tajikistan office
After graduation from university, she worked in a rehabilitation facility for people with intellectual disabilities as a caseworker, then worked in a school for children with disabilities in Fiji as a Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteer. After returning to Japan, she studied international health and public hygiene at graduate school before joining AAR JAPAN. She has been working in the Dushanbe office since June, 2010. (Born in Nagasaki Prefecture)
(Profile at the time of posting of this article)