Prop Station Home Our goal Illust by Junko Suzuki

Prop Station, a Nonprofit Social Welfare
Organization Supporting the Challenged.

Prop Station Home

"Prop" means 'a beam, stick or stone to support', or 'to support, sustain or stabilize.'

Prop Station is a social welfare corporation trying to assist the physically challenged to be independent, to participate in the society, and to work by using computers and networking.

Making Japan a society where the challenged can become taxpayers!

Prop Station's continuing aims are to promote a more independent livelihood, more active role in society and more opportunities for employment among the challenged. The phrase "the challenged" is derived from a newly coined American phrase meant to describe people with disabilities, without restricting the expression to its purely negative connotations. Those with disabilities are thus held to have been set a challenge by God to overcome certain difficulties and, in doing so, have the opportunity to realize their own strengths and abilities to overcome and even utilize to a positive degree what would normally be regarded as "a disability" for society as a whole as well as for one's own self.

My own experiences caring for my 27 year old daughter, who is coping with severe mental and physical disability, have been the starting point, for me, to begin thinking in this direction. When I think of it, had it not been for the fact that my daughter was born this way, I would not have become involved in this sort of activity. In this way, I feel just as much "challenged" as my daughter.

At Prop, we encourage our nation-wide challenged members to make use of computers to achieve their full potential and endeavor to find work. Right now, there is a core of Prop members who are setting the example by working from home. Prop organizes seminars introducing the acquisition of various skills to the challenged to increase their employability. We also operate the vital link between prospective employees (found not only in companies but also in local administration) and the members themselves, by acting as a medium through which work opportunities are channeled through to the challenged in their homes. Prospective employees may not feel confident about the capabilities of the potential employee, but we allay their fears by giving them exact information to eliminate any uncertainty whatsoever. To do this, we have on board various experts and professionals who help us by evaluating individuals' skills and offering training opportunities. We also act as an intermediary to negotiate suitable wage levels; we do not believe that a smaller wage packet is justified purely by virtue of the fact that the employee may have a disability. In this way, Prop is greatly appreciative of the working support of various professional sectors of the general population.

Prop Station has adopted the slogan "To Make Japan a Country where the Challenged can Play a Full Earners' Role in Society". This may initially be misunderstood as being particularly unsympathetic towards a minority. However, I consider Japan in its present state to be reliant on support from both the challenged and the aged alike.

After eight years of activity as a private organization, Prop Station gained recognition in September 1998 by the Ministry of Welfare as a Social Welfare Corporation of the Second Class. I feel there must indeed be a change occurring in our social climate for such an organization as ours, with its unconventionally phrased slogan, to be acknowledged by government as a Social Welfare Corporation.

In Japan, where the proportion of the aged population has been increasing rapidly while that of the population of children has been decreasing, the ratio of full-time workers and those who have been taking on overtime has been steadily decreasing. In a society that needs to uphold its human and financial resources as best as possible, it is vital that the social welfare system be changed to allow more people to work and lend their support to society, according to their abilities.

The basic human wish to work and be useful to others is a beautiful thing. It is my hope that Japanese society will offer opportunities to the challenged and the aged to work energetically with pride and allow those who cannot contribute to society in the same way, such as my daughter, to maintain a dignified lifestyle. It is to realize these things that I work with Prop Station.

Please consult with us if you have any inquiries pertaining to work situations or achieving a more independent livelihood by e-mail, telephone, facsimile or direct conversation. We co-operate with other welfare organizations, medical/rehabilitational organizations, administrative organs, NPOs and commercial companies.

Prop Station has started an e-mail consultation facility to complement the above. For those challenged who have difficulty in going out, e-mail has proved highly useful for all types of communication and can open up channels towards a greater level of participation in society. Those working from home may benefit from this mode of communication in other ways, as well as use it for purely consultation purposes.

In using e-mail, you do not have to venture out to see social workers. You can send a message putting forth your anxieties or problems without worrying about factors such as distance or time. For those challenged who need the assistance of others to talk on the telephone, it may be better to write, fax or contact a social worker; e-mail is only a convenient tool, after all, to ensure confidentiality.

Prop Station can respond immediately to e-mails of an urgent nature. E-mail has enabled us to communicate with the totally blind and the hearing impaired without having to resort to Braille or sign language. Recently, personal computers have become easier to operate and some computers allow users to send and receive e-mails with the simplest of operations, rather like word processors. E-mail may offer the first step for the challenged to express themselves and, ultimately, unlock their full potential.

We have consulted not only with the challenged but also with their families, voluntary assistants, staff at medical/educational establishments, those in charge of personnel at companies, as well as staff at welfare offices, employment security offices and other administrative organs.

Finally, Prop Station regards the e-mail consultation service as one of our main activities and hope more and more people will utilize it in the future. We most heartily welcome your visit and are ready and waiting to take your telephone calls or fax transmissions.

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