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Memories of Yesterday

photo: Ms. Yumiko interviewing Kuenga Chhoegyel.
Yumiko Oyama

Mr. Kuenga Chhoegyel, a visually impaired teacher of the institute recently returned after attending course on Capacity Development of Leaders with Disabilities for UNCRPD Implementation sponsored by JICA in Tokyo Japan, commenced from 28th September, to 8th of November, 2017.

Mr. Kuenga Chhoegyel expressed his deep gratitude to Royal Government of Bhutan, the Royal Civil Service Commission, the ministry of education, SEN division, HRD and the institute for opportunity provided him to undergo the training. He also wishes to extend his heart-felt gratitude to JICA for the financial support, for the training and also to the staff of JSRPD for the great support rendered.

Ms. Yumiko Oyama, JOCV, who works in the institute as Physical Education instructor, interviewed Mr. Kuenga Chhoegyel to share his experience in Japan.

Q. What was your course about?
A. During the six weeks course (28/09—08/11/2017, we had the opportunity to learn:

  • Japanese history, geography, religion, language and culture.
  • Different types of disabilities: physically, visually, hearing, mentally, intellectually and deaf and blind—movements, networks roles in shaping the lives of PWDs.
  • Different types of welfare schemes provided by various stakeholders, including the government, and NGOs. Such as the various welfare services, shelter workshop, Personal assistance provided by the Independent living Centers.
  • Policies on welfare schemes for PWDs.
  • Responsible organizations such as Japan Disability Forum that caters the need of support, and monitors the implementation of the policies and rights of PwDs.
  • WS on Peer counselling and abuse.
  • Measure for promotion implementation of UNCRPD, Sustainable developmental goals.
  • Employment, job opportunities for PwDs.
  • Types of Discriminations and measurements to eliminate.
  • Transportations accessibilities system.
  • Sports and recreation for Pwds.
  • Disaster risk managements,
  • Inclusive education.

Q. Based on what you have learnt there, how would this benefit the institute?
A. Muenselling Institute, the only institute for the blind is a small organization whereby, implementation of the plans and proposals are easily achievable. The institute has good human resource and can make best use of the human capacity to introduce and implement, PWDs in Bhutan is understood based on medical model which needs to be changed to social model. Visit of home group, day care centers, experiencing public transportations has made me aware that a lot needs to be done for the persons with disabilities in Bhutan. Perhaps, one of the major challenge could be financial constrain.

Q. 􀂄 Using cases from Japan, introduce some hints for solving problems in our institute.
A. In order to provide better understanding of persons with disabilities, I feel I need to conduct various workshops on: peer Counseling, abuse Prevention, disaster Risk managements, Advocate and train Disability Equality Training, inclusive education and certification of PwDs.

Q. What did you learn from other trainees or participants? How did this benefit interacting with them?
A. I have understood that of the eight countries that participated the course, only two countries including Bhutan had not ratified UNCRPD. I have also realized that although ratified; yet do not seem to have developed equal status as per UNCRPD, the implementation of UNCRPD differs from country to country. Independent living center is an avenue where the persons with disabilities learn to live independently which we do not have in Bhutan. Games and sports were thought only the means of leisure activities and for recreational. Some of the participants have made me realize that it can be a means to build confidence for the persons with disabilities. I have also understood to differentiate between impairment and disabilities.

Q. 􀂄 what did you learn through this training about leadership and the rights of PWDs?
A. I had the opportunity to learn a lot. Perhaps, some of the examples worth mentioning could be Workshop on Abuse and prevention by Ms. Mami Goibuchi, taking the issues to a reality. Visit Mucho LCIL, Manager of the CIL, made me aware, that despite his disability, he has the capacity to not only run the CIL smoothly, but also enables to manage so smoothly, whereby, the staff is so well organized, warm and hospitality. WS on Facilitator skill training, by Mr. Yoshinori Ikezumi, provided strategies to better facilitate. He had the skills that would grab the attention of each and every participant’s attention, covering less topics and yet ensuring that the topics he covered were well understood by all bringing to a realistic.

Q. What do you plan to do?
A. I plan to conduct various workshops within the institute, disseminating the knowledge and experience gained in Japan. I also hope that I can present papers in some of NBIPs whenever there are relevant subjects. 􀂄

Q. What did you miss something that you had in Bhutan but not in Japan?
A. People who work seem to live far away and therefore seem to meet only during the working days. I missed my friends and family members during the weekends.

Q. Do you have any message or comment??
A. I am just wondering, I am neither the first person nor will I be the last persons to visit Japan. I am sure all might have noticed that in Japan, punctuality is prioritized and time management is so precious. Japanese are so hard working. I just wonder why couldn’t it be introduced in Bhutan for it has no any financial implecation.

Q. Tell anything else from the training that left an impression on you?
A. The course provided knowledge and skills which otherwise would not have been possible to obtain through studying the reading materials. Meeting various international participants, highly knowledge and rich experienced lecturers of Japan, experiencing various accessible transportation facilities for the persons with disabilities, were, indeed, a great blessing and opportunity to interact which, otherwise, would have been preposterous in Bhutan.