Mr. Sho Saito from SAITO KOBO Visits Pakistan
Karachi, Lahore & Islamabad 12-18 April, 2014
Saito Kobo is a wheelchair manufacturing company in Japan providing mobility services to persons with disabilities in general and to severe persons with disabilities in particular. Mr. Sho Saito is expert in his mobility field who has been manufacturing manual and electric wheelchairs for long and his contributions in this regard can never be denied. He has been visiting Pakistan for many years providing trainings to Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) about the manufacturing and repairing of electric wheelchairs. Mr. Habib Ur Rehman from Sakura Wheelchair Company is another feather in the cap – he is running a wheelchair manufacturing project in Japan and imports and donates wheelchairs to Pakistan to ensure the mobility of persons with disabilities. Both the companies are serving in the best possible manner to support Pakistan and every year they donate electric wheelchairs to Pakistan that are distributed to persons with disabilities. The recent visit of these two figures was scheduled to visit 3 organizations in Pakistan to provide training workshops on repair of electric wheelchairs; these organizations include DWA Karachi, Milestone Lahore and Saaya Association Islamabad.
Mr. Sho Saito and Mr. Habib Ur Rehman visited DWA Karachi. Mr. Jawaid Rias and the staff paid warm welcome where Mr. Jawaid Rias, after formal introduction of organization, activities and staff, briefed the delegates about the mobility workshop where bikes are manufactured for persons with disabilities. He also thanked the Sakura and Saito Kobo for providing them with electric wheelchairs that are being repaired and distributed to persons with disabilities. The contribution of the Sakura and Saito Kobo in providing mobility to persons with disabilities can never be denied. This initiative of provision of electric wheelchair is ensuring mobility of persons with disabilities and raising an awareness concerning participation of persons with disabilities spreads in the society.
In the session that followed, Mr. Sho Saito and Mr. Habib Ur Rehman provided electric wheelchair training to the staff of DWA where the participants learned the techniques of repairing electric wheelchairs by using different methods.
Milestone Society for the Special Persons is the largest active organization of persons with disabilities in Pakistan. It has history of serving persons with disabilities for 21 years and it enjoys the status of introducing Independent Living philosophy to persons having disabilities in general and persons with severe disabilities in particular. It is a fact that with the efforts of the Milestone there is ray of positive change in the society, as it is continuously producing leaders who are agents of change in Pakistan. For achieving this mission and noble goals, the great contribution and generous support of Mainstream Association can never be denied.
The delegates’ second visit was paid to the Milestone, Lahore, where the electric wheelchair unit is serving persons with disabilities by providing them with the electric wheelchairs donated by the Sakura and Saito Kobo from Japan. Sakura and Saito Kobo are supporting Pakistan with the provision of used electric wheelchairs that are further repaired here in the country and distributed among person with disabilities. The staff repairing these wheelchairs is well trained by the Sakura and Saito San as they conducted training workshops in the past year visits. In the training session the electric wheelchairs were repaired and training in this concern was conducted.
Saaya Association for persons with disabilities is serving persons with disabilities in Islamabad under the leadership of Mr. Asim Zafar for the last many years. Its wheelchair repair unit has been recently established with the support of Saito Kobo and Sakura Wheelchair Company where electric wheelchairs are repaired and distributed among persons with disabilities.
Their third visit was paid to Saaya Association serving persons with disabilities in Islamabad. After receiving formal introduction to the staff and activities, Mr. Saito and Mr. Habib described the purpose of their visit from Japan. The electric wheelchair unit established with the support of Sakura was visited and wheelchair repair training workshop conducted where Mr. Saito and Mr. Habib shared their electric wheelchair repairing technique with the trainees. The session was fruitful as video presentations were made and lectures were delivered on manufacturing and repairing of electric wheelchairs. The questions and queries were well answered to satisfy the trainees. KAY2 TV channel covered the event live on the media for awareness-raising.
In the next day session the lectures were delivered on mobility and the manufacturing of electric wheelchair by Mr. Saito San and Mr. Habib Rehman, in the question-and-answer session the queries of the trainees were well answered and they were provided with the technical information concerning repair of electric wheelchairs.
The delegate paid an official visit to JICA Office where the project for persons with disabilities was discussed that is to be implemented in Lahore in the coming days. The project is designed for persons with severe disabilities where they will be provided with the electric wheelchairs and with the self management trainings to be productive and contributing part of the society. The Sakura wheelchair company is supporting the said project in Pakistan to ensure the mobility of persons with severe disabilities so that inclusive, barrier free and rights-based society can be achieved.
The presentation was made by Mr. Habib emphasized the importance of wheelchair mobility for persons with disabilities and described the efforts of Saito Kobo and Sakura Company.
An Official visit was paid to the WHO Office where a meeting was held with Dr. Maryam Mallik, Disability Advisor, and the purpose of visit was to discuss the mutual ground of collaboration concerning the mobility services for persons with disabilities.
Saito Kobo and Sakura Wheelchair Company offered their services for the joint collaboration efforts for mobility services for persons with disabilities in Pakistan and WHO may initiate some pilot project in this regard so as to provide electric wheelchair to persons with disabilities. Both the entities agreed on mutual grounds to collaborate with each other in this regard to ensure mobility of persons with disabilities.
An international seminar was conducted by Saaya Association and Comsats University in Islamabad where students were sensitized of the disability issues and inclusion of persons with disabilities. Mr. Asim Zafar, the President of Saaya Association, delivered a lecture on disability where he provoked students to think what disability is and what independent living is. He described the history of Independent Living movement and its contribution to the lives of persons with disabilities and how this concept changed the plight of persons with disabilities in the world.
Ms. Saima Aslam, a woman with disability from Saaya Association, related her life history with disability. She described how Independent Living has changed her life and with learning self management skills. She is living an independent life, which can happen with self-management skills and mobility devices. She said, “We can lean an independent life without being burden on others.”
Ms. Saima Aslam performs her daily living chores using personal assistant. And with her electric wheelchair, she can move freely in society and contribute as productive part.
Mr. Sho Saito in his lecture on mobility presented the history of wheelchair manufacturing in Saito Kobo in Japan. He said that mobility is the basic issue for persons with disabilities and that if their mobility is ensured the half of the work is done as mobility is the first step towards independence. He presented the latest wheelchair manufactured in his factory that is a piece of excellence concerning its functions for severe persons with disabilities.
Mr. Habib Rehman in his lecture described the importance of inclusion of persons with disabilities in society. He emphasized that we have to help persons with disabilities be mobile so that they can be a respectable part of the society, which can be achieved through provision of assistive devices like wheelchairs, white canes and hearing aids. He briefed the students about the Sakura Wheelchair Company that how is it ensuring the mobility and independence of persons with disabilities with provision of manual and electric wheelchairs. He also said, “We have to make efforts for the creation of barrier free, rights-based and inclusive society for all.”
Milestone Society for the Special Persons