Eri's Extraordinary Story
Overcoming Obstacles and
Helping Those with Special Needs
After a serious bout of influenza, one of Eri's three children was never the same. Now 12, he struggles with severe physical challenges, remaining bedridden and requiring special care. To support him and his siblings, ages 13 and 10, Eri, who is no longer married to the children’s father, has worked hard, at times juggling several jobs.
For some time, Eri worked overnight at a shipping facility, arriving home in the early morning hours to make the children breakfast and see them off to school. In the afternoon, she would head to a part-time job. She also was employed at a nursery school. While in this role, she founded a support group for mothers of children with special needs. She became a leader among parents seeking to provide the best medical treatment for these children.
Those who know Eri well say she works incredibly hard and is always smiling. Her vitality and dedication to her children have won her admiration and respect among peers and colleagues.
Currently, she works part time and is studying to become a nationally certified social worker. She is also taking courses to earn a nursery school teaching certificate as well as a degree in psychology. Eri will use her Live Your Dream Award to complete her education and hopes to one day open an assisted-living facility for individuals with special needs.
Determined to Make a Change
“There are only three assisted-living facilities for my child in my area,” she explains. I hope to create a place where even persons with severe disabilities can lead a ‘normal’ life, have a purpose, and have human relationships with other people. It would also be a place where parents can be involved."
Eri recognizes that for such a facility to become a reality, legal reforms and cooperation from city governments and welfare organizations will be indispensable. And so in addition to completing coursework, she sees her time studying at Shizuoka University of Welfare as an opportunity to build a network within these communities that will help her realize her dream.