Regional workshop hana’s thoughts on the equalto
The thoughts on “working” of the producing facility, Izumi(Suginami Izumi), will be shared in this page.
Interviewee is Ms. Tsutsui, the factory manager of the hana “(Kisarazu, Chiba prefecture) ) of specified nonprofit organization “Community Works” which manufacture “Ohukuro (A good-luck charm cover.)
hana operate many projects such as sewing work, confectionery manufacture, management of café, so, what made you to join equalto?
Mr. Tsutsui: In around 2006, I operated a small former workplace which was the predecessor of hana (hereinafter referred to as hana), it was very hard to find a job and we even received order which unit price was less than 1 yen. The wage was few thousand yen per month, even in the good time, so I thought ‘we can’t continue any more!’ And when I started research of what other welfare workplaces are doing, I learned those workplaces capable to pay higher wage are making their own products which they can decide prices by themselves. Then I discussed with the staff who worked at my workplace at that time, tried and errored and we finally launched to make newspaper eco-bags that use English newspaper not in use anymore.
equalto team staff: You can also see it at a select shop. I saw the manufacturing site, but it was impressive that the work was very finely divided.
Mr. Tsutsui: From the time we started our production, design and construction were improved a lot. I have been always thinking to make our original product in sawing section after eco-bag manufacture, however, it was difficult to make design by only welfare support staff, and we do not have sales route, even if we could make our original product. When I had such a problem, I was introduced to equalto, I thought it is a good opportunity and decided to join.
equalto team staff:Then, “Ohukuro” a good-luck charm cover was born from there. Are there any learnings and changes by participating to equalto?
Are there any learnings and changes by participating to equalto?
Mr. Tsutsui: That’s obvious but by interacting with many companies such as a leather company for purchasing row materials, a processor, packaging company and etc., I realized that “Ohukuro” was made by involving many suppliers. It was my first experience to be involved in all processes from purchasing of materials to finish manifesting, so I learned a lot. Also, by working through equalto, service-users* and staff members’ awareness of product quality has been increased. For example, “Ohukuro” has a strict inspection for product quality standards, we have to wear gloves when packaging for example. Service-users who experienced the inspection got to point out some scratches and stains when they even handle products from different clients as well. When they experience a strict job, they will become aware of details. Now we also received a job of inspection, too.
equalto team staff: “Ohukuro” is a product that a little sewing gap could standout, so quality control is severe issue. I am glad to hear that such experience led to a new job.
Please also tell us about your user’s employment. How do you support them such as to improve their skills?
Mr. Tsutsui: All service-users who start using hana, are asked to pull a line on the paper and cut it with scissors along to check their skills for a first time. Then we check their skills such as pulling a straight line, ability to use scissors, attitude towards precision and so on, We use it as a reference of allocation of each work. For improvement of skills, we encourage them to challenge different work when they have time or encourage to practice it, and as a result, each of them become capable of different kind of works.
equalto team staff: So, at each pace, they are expanding what they can do.
Mr. Tsutsui: For service-users, hana is just a passing point for employment by companies. When they hired by companies, it should have almost no opportunity to do the same work they do at hana, so We rather put importance on practical training such as going to work at a fixed time every day, a way to be able to work stably, communicating with colleges, reporting, communicating and consulting to their boss and so on. Don’t you think there’s a person whom you feel difficult to get along well with at any workplace, do you? Then how do you keep your distance with such people? I would like to make this place for service-users to learn how to avoid troubles as much as possible and how to deal with such troubles. Even they cannot do at the beginning, they will be able to do it if they form a habit.
equalto teaem staff: 70% service-users of hana has mental illness, so it is important to support their communication and work attitudes.
Is the timing to be employed for service-users fixed?
Mr. Tsutsui: It’s totally their each own timing, so it’s not fixed in particular. Some go to Hello Work by themselves and find job there, the others get calls from expert organizations for employment support for people with disabilities (PwDs). Recently, there was a case that a staff worked in the confectionery manufacture section for many years was recruited as a temporary staff at city hall.
equalto team staff: So, you leave it to their intentions and timings. I can see how hana support them by standing their side and respect each users’ will.
As you mentioned, hana is a passing point, but it is also a place that they can work forever, isn’t it?
Mr. Tsutsui: Yes. But we have not been able to pay the minimum wage yet, so we are not standing in the same place as other companies in the first place. Some service-users want to work in a company where a work is hard but a salary is high. Of course, such feeling is natural, and we have no right to stop them because it’s their own life. However, there’s cases that their health condition got worse because they work too hard. That’s why we want make this workplace to be able to pay the same wage as other companies so that users can compare by not only the amount of salary but also working environment. We are planning to increase our sales and in the future, became a workplace that can pay minimum wages at least.
equalto team staff: Increasing salary and standing on the same place as other workplaces. I felt a passion. Also, equalto will focus on developing new products and sales channel. Let’s work on it together!
Keisuke Tsutsui (President of specified nonprofit organization “Community Works”)
Born in Kanagawa prefecture, in 1980
Since he studied at university, he worked with Kisarazu City to support civic entrepreneurs and NPO in about 10 years. In 2006, those activities became a trigger for him to establish specified nonprofit organization “Community Works” and also start operating “hana”. In 2010, he shifted it to support for continuous employment called type B, and now about 20 PwDs go there and work on making eco-bags made by English newspaper not in use, confectionary manufacturing, sawing and manufacturing.http://hana-work.net/
After that, in 2015, we opened a multi-functional establishment “B” type of living care and work continuation support type “hanahaco”, which operates cafes and shops as a place for people with disabilities to work.http://hanahaco.com/
Favorite things: tomato juice