At the invitation of the President of Bussi-En International Organization, the Board of Trustees of the Ability Bhutan comprised of Chairperson Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, Dr. Mahrukh Getshen, Vice Chairperson and Dr. Kinzang P. Tshering, Board Member visited Bhutan from 17th – 22nd of May 2017.
Bussi-En is a non-governmental organisation based in Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan that supports disabled citizens and socially excluded individuals. The core values espoused at the creation of Bussi-En is respecting the human rights of disabled individuals.
It operates residential facilities, job supporting facilities, day-care facilities and group-homes. It started as temple service to help orphans of the Second World War. In 1960 it registered as a social welfare agency trying to help all disadvantaged and senior citizens in particular mentally and neurotically challenged individuals through three models of services:
- Facility Version;
- Area Version; and
- Town Version.
It operates state of the art and comprehensive facilities for training and wellness services.
In 1989, the organization partnered with local agencies in Dominican Republic to improve the welfare of disabled people
It has also been working in Bhutan with Tarayana Foundation, since 2012 for promotion of “Social Inclusion Project for Persons with Disabilities”(PWDs).
Since the project with Bussi-En’s support has been handed over to Ability Bhutan Society upon the command of the President of Tarayana, the Board of Trustees of ABS visited Japan with the objectives to:
- Familiarize, learn and experience the Japanese way of social inclusion implemented by Bussi-En;
- Visit the Continued Care Retirement Community centers in Ishikawa prefecture managed by Bussi-En; and
- Exchange ideas, concepts and discuss on collaborative work and activities on social inclusion for drawing a way forward for the implementation of Share Bhutan project.
The delegation was given exclusive field visits to three residential facilities, seven job supporting facilities, five day-care facilities and sixteen group-homes at Sasonnimoku Sain-Ji, Share Kanazawa, Sasonnimoku Gyozen-Ji, Kids’ Veranda and Able Veranda, Higashiyama and Rensho-Ji Temple, Mikawa 37 Café, and Nihonkai Club.
The ABS delegation participated in the inauguration event of the B’s clinic an commemorative address was delivered on Gross National Happiness by the Chairperson of ABS, where in Dasho Kunzang Wangdi shared how Bhutan is embracing GNH philosophy of His Majesty The Fourth King of Bhutan into its political, social and economic development policies and plans. He expressed that both the Japanese concept of Share–Kanazawa and the Bhutanese philosophy of living with happiness shares the same goal of community empowering and engagement. The team also interacted with Mayor of Hakusan city, officials from JICA and JOCA, local community leaders and medical university professionals.
The delegation found that the mixed inclusive community is bearing positive outcomes, preventing isolation of elderly and maintaining the autonomy of PWDs and creating jobs, with comfortable places increase interpersonal relationships, enhances peace of mind and cheerful, health and happy living, everybody having a role in creating city and taking care of it. There is a lot that we can learn: motivation of officials, standard of services and mutuality of existence of all stakeholders. Above all leadership style, team working environment and nurturing of an inclusive society. That gives ABS to aspire to be like Bussi-En.
The Team has Recommendations for religious leaders/institutions in Bhutan that could take up such social welfare activities for the lifelong spiritual and wellbeing needs of the community and persons with diverse abilities.
- CSOs may follow Bussi-En model in that to allow PBOs also take up revenue generating activities for self-financing and sustaining.
- It was seen that the biggest difference in terms of funding is that in Japan the central government and local government fund the construction of centres and management of activities through their supporting funding scheme in social welfare field, whereas in Bhutan there is no such funding scheme from the government. Thus the need to ensure sustainability of centre(s) right from the beginning becomes more pronounced.
- Adapt Share Kanazawa or Nihonkai Club concept projects for every Dzongkhag or Gewog starting with Geynekha Share Bhutan.
- Recommend modeling of the National Resettlement Projects into inclusive communities as Share Kanazawa;
- Request Training/attachment programme for Individuals with disability and officials of ABS;
- Bussi-en to depute short-term advisors to improve,support and reform ABS;
- Bussi-En may invite lams, project officials of the National Rural Resettlement and parents of Persons with disabilities as potentials to take up such social welfare activities as lifelong spiritual and wellbeing needs mainly of aged, weak and the diverse abilities; and
- The Bussi-En may field expert and arrange training programme on hot spring, Japanese furniture making and architecture along to explore possibilities of each field to implement in who had bowled and created hot spring facilities for Saien-Ji, B’s Gyozen-Ji and Wajima Kabulet and Architecture firm who has designed most of Bussi-En centres.
- A MOU between Bussi-En and ABS could be signed for fielding services of experts on hot spring, Japanese furniture making and architecture to help design structures, construction of facilities based on how Bussi-En has evolved and the integration of new ideas as a top runner in social inclusion.