Ms. Iris Yung, 2012 graduate, studied how people with intellectual disabilities (ID) find work in the city of Nagoya. Iris reported what she learnt from her final- year project as follows:
Walking on the street, sometimes we saw some people who look different. Common sense only told me that they were people with intellectual disabilities (ID). I was afraid of them. I thought they were dangerous. Before going on exchange, I had never tried to help or approach them. I thought that their lives are a disaster. However, from the final-year project, I have learnt “Respect”. Japanese people taught me to respect nature and all living species because everything exists for some reasons.
I was a volunteer in an ID center in Japan for one year. I saw ID’s ability. They learnt to make bread and design business cards. I was very impressed that after the 311 earthquake, they sang to encourage the victims. From resistance to understanding, acceptance and finally, respect, my project made me know the needs of ID and how to help them. Japanese friends taught me that to help ID is to make use of their skills and abilities.