Activities During the Past 4 Years
FY 2016 (Year 1)
Implemented feasibility study/proof of concept for 100% organic WAMEN cotton production to start cultivation of WAMEN using organic method, aiming to create Olympics and Paralympics merchandise:
●Organic cotton craft workshop was held in collaboration with Mind Matsui Corporation (Gifu Pref) which is one and the only grower/manufacturer in Japan to produce 100% organic cotton at its own estate in Kumamoto for thread and textiles. The workshop was a collaboration for the disabled with designers based in Gifu and other areas to discover potential talents and facilities in providing skill sets required for dyeing, weaving, and embroidery of WAMEN products.
● The organically-grown seeds from Mind Matsui were planted in the garden of Gifu Seiryu Bunka Plaza as well as another half-acre plot to start cultivating organic WAMEN in Gifu.
The first goal of the Action Plan of the Project was set to work on making support merchandise for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
FY 2017 (Year 2)
Scale up of the Project membership and creating the workshop menu (method) for promoting business sharing in the process of WAMEN cultivation and the product development:
●Developed a circulating system for cultivation support members of welfare institutions and special needs schools to take part in sowing seeds, composting, harvesting, clearing and separating the seeds by ginning to donate the cotton as outcome of their contribution to the Project. As a part of WAMEN production process, the ginning of cotton was confirmed to be a potential work in the future for people with disabilities.
●Involving the local schoolchildren of Gifu Pref to participate in the harvesting and ginning activities of WAMEN as a part of outdoor classes and on-site events of educational content helps to build awareness for crops grown from the soil, along with the experience of “hands-on education menu” to uncover ways of how to achieve symbiosis with disabled people. The workshop menu (method) was developed through these activities for picking, ginning of harvested cotton, and misanga-making from the dye-colored cotton yarn to reassure the high potential of business sharing in WAMEN growing and WAMEN products.
●This WAMEN harvested was the first WAMEN grown locally in Gifu Prefecture. Subsequently, a part of it was made into 100% GIFU WAMEN kimono fabric after requesting the Minojima Heritage Weavers of Hashima City, who preserve the traditional technique of Edo Period, to prepare hand-spun thread yarns for further process of dyeing and weaving at the welfare facilities by the disabled.
●Started to accumulate the stock reserve of 100% organic WAMEN made in Gifu as the material for making support goods for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
FY 2018 (Year 3)
Beginning of creating WAMEN products based on suggestions from people with actual disabilities:
●In the similar manner to the previous year, cotton cultivation was continued at welfare facilities while business-sharing workshops were offered to the general public in stages, ranging from harvesting, ginning, spinning to the final misanga-making etc.
●Making of WAMEN products started with incorporating opinions from the people with actual disabilities and the products were shown at the 4th tomoni Project Exhibition. Other initiatives featured the unique texture of the material to be touched, based on the suggestion of the people with sensory disabilities such as from the school for the blind.
●The potential of working with the unique sensibility of one’s disability was reaffirmed along with possibility for safe and secure production.
●The field work continued to harvest and accumulate the stock reserve of 100% organic WAMEN made in Gifu as the material for making support merchandise for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
FY 2019 (Year 4)
In order to promote a specific “Made-in-Gifu” product, the branding efforts sorted out the issues and redesigned the action plan for creating the merchandise for the Olympics and Paralympics.
●As a result of four years of collaboration with the disabled persons as well as welfare facilities and workshops, the possible work scope and operation could be based on their individual level of disability. In that process, a specific “Made-in-Gifu” product was promoted with branding to highlight the issues and redesign the action plan.
●Going forward in the coming year and onwards, with a view to create the flow to return the profits, a substantial preparation has been initiated to establish a future (sellable) sales mechanism of products with added value.
●The trial samples of support merchandise for athletes and participants of the Olympic and Paralympic Games have been completed. The real products will be available in time.