Accessibility lessons from Japan and UK

16:00, Mar 03 2014
BUSTING BARRIERS: Disability advocate Ezekiel Robson is in Japan for a programme about community leadership and accessibility.

Auckland has a lot to learn from Hiroshima, Ezekiel Robson reckons.

He'll find out for sure this week.

Mr Robson, a disability advocate, is in the Japanese city for an international exchange programme that focuses on improving community leadership.

The Manurewa man is one of 13 New Zealanders selected by the Ministry of Social Development for their work on issues affecting people with disabilities, the elderly and youth.

People from the United Kingdom and Denmark are also taking part in the programme, which runs for two weeks and includes activities in both Hiroshima and Tokyo.

"The main goal is to share examples of leadership and social services in each participating country," Mr Robson says.


Hiroshima is best known for being devastated by an atomic bomb during World War II but it has plenty of other notable features, he says.

A large number of people were left with lasting disabilities after the bomb and the city has adapted to that.

"I think there'll be some real lessons to learn from going to a place that has had to be innovative."

Participants from Denmark will share their strategies for including elderly people in their society and British participants will share their strengths in youth advocacy.

They'll also learn about managing non-profit organisations, accessible housing and improving the uptake of education.

Mr Robson is looking forward to applying those lessons in his own community when he returns.

"I'm keen to bring back some new ideas and make plans to improve accessibility for all ages in Manurewa," he says.

Manukau Courier