Associação Pro-Excepcionais Kodomo-no-Sono Association
Kodomonosono is a facility where people with intellectual disabilities live and undertake various activities together. There are a number of purpose-built specialist facilities dotted around the site, which is so big that you need a car to move from one building to another, with the drive from the gate to the entrance of the main building taking about 10 minutes.
The facility has a long history, dating back to its founding in 1958 through the efforts of the first head priest of Nippakuji Temple, Ryoshin Hasegawa. In response to requests from his parishioners, he founded the facility’s forerunner, the Nippakuji School Special Education Department, as part of Nippakuji School and began caring for 13 orphans and children with mental disabilities. Kodomonosono was subsequently opened in its current location, thanks to the donation of the land on which it stands. It became the first facility in Brazil to be certified as a residential facility for children with disabilities.
When it was first opened, the facility took in children, aiming eventually to reintegrate them into their families and society, but the number of entrants and leavers both gradually declined. Today, 72 adults who grew up at Kodomonosono live their lives here.
Its founder, Reverend Hasegawa, summed up its ethos as “Not for them, but with them.” This philosophy remains a strong inspiration today and is reflected in the residents’ activities. The various fruits of their activities, from handicrafts and pottery to vegetables and organic fertilizer, are sold at bazaars and fairs. The earnings from these are a key source of funding for the running of the facility, in which residents play the leading role. In particular, the annual Kodomonosono Festival attracts more than 15,000 visitors and earns enough to cover 1-2 months of the facility’s running costs.