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UNiSON=音楽用語で「同じメロディーを奏でる」という意味。

地域や島の方々、そして全国、世界中の人々と共感し共に何かを創り出していきたい。

その真ん中に愛(i)がある法人でありたい。

 

 

代表より  ~Story~

<人生の転機>

その日は突然来ました・・・

中学2年生の秋。

私と姉を散髪屋に送ろうとしていた母が突然玄関で足を踏み外し、バランスを崩して転倒。頭部を強打し大量の出血。その日から我が家の生活は一変しました。

母は右半身に麻痺が残り、高次脳機能障害による失語症。商売人の家庭に育ち、人を喜ばせるのが好きだった母が、人と接するのを拒み、涙を流す日々が続きました。

徳之島にはそのころ専門的なリハビリを行える病院もスタッフもおらず、鹿児島での長期入院を余儀なくされました。

当時、野球に没頭していた私はさまざまな葛藤のなか精神的不安から身体が固まり近くの選手にボールが投げられなくなる「イップス」という症状に悩まされながらも、仲間に助けられ、なんとか野球を続けていました。

入院生活を続ける母の楽しみは、鹿児島県大会で野球をする私たちを応援に来ること。(父が母を車椅子に乗せて毎回球場に連れてきてくれました。)それが母のリハビリの原動力となりました。

3年生最後の夏の大会。10年以上ぶりにベスト16に入り、「島から甲子園」と徳之島が沸き立った時のことを今でも忘れません。

野球を引退後、母の担当だったリハビリの先生からの後押しもあり、私は作業療法士を目指すことに。色々な角度から幅広い方への支援が出来ることに魅力を感じ、それまで全然してこなかった勉強に必死で取り組みました。

資格取得後は精神科や一般科を経験し、仕事の傍らスポーツ医学を学び、そんな中音楽療法士の妻と出会い、子供を授かったことをきっかけに徳之島に戻りました。

<故郷、徳之島で>

島に帰ってすぐから、スポーツ障害予防の活動を個人的にしていく中で、救急を専門とする齋藤学医師と出会い、徳之島メディカルサポートチームを結成。

それからしばらくして子供たちの障害予防を町と連携して行える仕組みも完成しましたが、任意団体での活動はいつまで続けられるかという不安もありました。

 

千葉県で音楽療法士として様々な障害を持つ方々と関わっていた妻は、徳之島に住み始めてからも、多方面で活動していましたが、支援が必要と思われる方に完全な自己負担で音楽療法を提供することの限界を感じていました。

 

徳之島の病院内でのリハビリは15年前と比べ充実してきている一方、地域に目を向けたときに、若くして障がいを負った方々の就労支援や、困り感を抱えた子どもたちへの支援がまだ十分に足りていない現状でした。

<新たなスタート>

それらの状況を打開すべく、徳之島で出会った様々な専門性を持つスタッフと共に、より手厚い支援を地域に広げたいということで、法人を設立するに至りました。

法人としての事業を開始するのに、生まれ育った木之香という集落でスタートできることは大変ありがたく感慨深いものがあります。

代々島の先人たちが大事にしてきた支えあいの精神、結いの心。それが色濃く残る場所で、すべての人が住みやすい場所になることを目指し、多くの方々と手をとりあっていけたらと思っています。

                    NPO法人 UNiSON 代表理事 芳村潔政

UNiSON = “Play the same melody” in musical terms.

We’d love to create something in harmony with the people in the region and on the island, and people all over the country and all over the world.

We’d love this organization to have the “i” (means “love” in Japanese) in the middle.

 

Message from the Representative – My Story

 

<Turning Point>

That day came all of a sudden.

It was in the fall of the 2nd year of my junior high school time.

My mother who was trying to send me and my sister to a barber suddenly lost balance and fell at the entrance of our home. She hit her head hard on the ground with a massive bleeding. The life of our family changed completely from that day on.

Remaining paralyzed in the right half of body with aphasia due to higher brain dysfunction, my mother, who had grew up in a family running business and loved to please people around, refused to contact with others and continued to shed tears.

There were no hospitals or healthcare staff who could provide specialized rehabilitation in Tokunoshima Island back then, and she was forced to stay hospitalized in mainland Kagoshima for a very long time.

 

Around that time I had my days devoted to baseball. I managed to continue playing, with a help by my friends, despite the fact I was suffering from the symptoms of “yips” - not being able to throw balls to nearby players - due to mental unrest and struggles.

My mother’s pleasure while staying in hospital was to come to cheer us playing baseball in the tournament held in mainland Kagoshima (my father took her to the stadium in a wheelchair every time my team had a game). That was the driving force behind her rehabilitation.

At the last summer high school tournament, my team became one of the top 16s in Kagoshima for the first time in more than 10 years. “From Tokunoshima to Koshien (the stadium where national tournament is held)” – I cannot forget that Tokunoshima was excited island-wide about this accomplishment coming fairly close to the nationals.

 

After retiring from high school baseball, with a recommendation from my mother’s rehab technician, I decided to become an occupational therapist. I was attracted to the fact that an occupational therapist could support a wide range of people from various perspectives. I started to work really hard on studying, like I had never done before. After obtaining the certification, I practiced in Tokyo in the psychiatry and general medical departments while additionally learning sports medicines. Then I met my wife who is a music therapist, and we moved back to Tokunoshima upon the birth of our first child. 

 

<Back in Hometown, Tokunoshima>

Soon after returning to the island, while personally being involved in sports disorder prevention activities, I met Dr. Manabu Saito who specializes in emergency care and formed the Tokunoshima Medical Support Team with him.

After a short while we were able to create a system to work together with the town to prevent children’s disabilities, but there has always been a concern on how long the activities by this voluntary group could continue.

 

My wife, who had used to work and communicate with people with various disabilities as a music therapist in Chiba (near Tokyo), has been actively involved in activities to support communities; however, she felt the limitations of providing music therapies to those who need them in a completely self-paying environment.

 

While the situation around rehabilitation in Tokunoshima has improved since I once left the island 15 years ago, support for young people with disability in job hunting and children with sense of difficulty was also not enough yet.

 

<New Start>

In order to overcome such situations and extend more generous and thorough supports to the people in the area, we decided to establish the NPO “UNiSON” in collaboration with the staff having various specialties who we met in Tokunoshima.

 

We feel grateful to this opportunity to start a business in the Kinoko area where I was born and raised.

- The spirits of support and love that the ancestors of the island have cherished and inherited from generations to generations - In the area, where is in strong echoes of such spirits, we hope that we can take hands of each other to make it easier for everyone to live their life to the fullest.   

Kiyomasa Yoshimura Representative Director NPO UNiSON

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