Laos: Supporting the Self-Sufficiency of Persons with Disabilities through Catfish Culture

Starting a small scale business in back yards

It is generally and universally challenging for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to have a job, earn his/her own income, and be able to live independently. Laos is no exception. In order to change such a condition, AAR Japan, in cooperation with Laos Disabled People’s Association (LDPA), is supporting PWDs in starting their own small businesses. Since July of 2014, we started a project to support PWDs with limited opportunities in getting a job, especially those in rural areas. The project provides assistance in starting small-scale business such as mushroom growing, sewing, and catfish culture that PWDs can engage at home or nearby. This report is on the catfish culture.

Why catfish?

In Laos, catfish is a very common food. Its market is less competitive in comparison to rice and meat, and the fish can be sold directly to the neighbors. It involves less labor, and is relatively easy for PWDs to start on. However, it is crucial that each participant has a strong motivation and commitment in order to succeed. Therefore, we asked each participant to bear a part of the start-up cost (equivalent of 2,000 Japanese yen) in the project, so that they have a strong motivation to continue their businesses.

Catfish fry, which was 8 cm, has grown more than double the length to 18 cm after a month (Above photo taken on September 4th, 2014. The below was taken on October 2nd, 2014)


Tajikistan: Persons With and Without Disabilities, Let’s Learn Together

Creating common learning places, without isolating children with disabilities

In Tajikistan, generally speaking, children with disabilities either study away from their families, at boarding schools established specifically for them, or they simply stay home without going to school. When children with disabilities are isolated in such a way, however, they lose contact with society, and society continues to show prejudice against them. In order to try to change this situation, AAR Japan has been engaged in activities to enable children with and without disabilities to study together in same schools. These activities have been undertaken in cooperation with local organizations for persons with disabilities, Rushdi Incluziya and IRODA, at School No. 28 and School No. 72 in the capital city of Dushanbe since January 2014.

School No. 28 actually started accepting children with disabilities nine years ago, as a result of direct negotiations with principals and requests from parents. However, the physical environments of the school had been far from “barrier free.” AAR, in response, installed wheelchair ramps and renovated toilets in the above two schools to make it more accessible for children with mobility difficulties. In addition, with a view to facilitating acceptance of children with disabilities by school teachers, staff, parents and schoolchildren, we have held various events aimed at deepening understanding of children with disabilities and conducted trainings for teachers and other school staff members.

School No. 28 is now equipped with a wheelchair ramp. (July 30th, 2014)