NATIONAL NEWS - The embassy of Japan has signed an agreement to fund 11 projects in South Africa to better the lives of women and those living with disabilities.
As part of its 2020 grant assistance for its Grassroots Human Security Projects Programme, the embassy sealed the deals with the organisations to be awarded grants in Pretoria yesterday.
Since the inception of the programme, the embassy has funded 650 projects with a collective amount of R500 million.
This year’s grant recipients include the Hoedspruit Training Trust in Limpopo, to which a mobile clinic would be donated to treat women working on surrounding farms. The clinic is equipped with an ultrasound unit made by Japanese company Fujifilm.
The Eluthandweni Maternity Clinic in Vosloorus on the East Rand would receive medical equipment and an ambulance valued at R1 million.
Ambassador Norio Maruyama said: “The ambulance will assist in their mission to reduce maternal and infant mortality by improving access to emergency maternal procedures.”
A mobile mental healthcare clinic and two vehicles would be handed to the Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture in the Western Cape.
“In terms of the empowerment of persons with disabilities, the embassy will fund the construction of a skills centre for children with profound intellectual disabilities at the Makhaloaneng Primary School in the Free State,” said Maruyama. “The embassy will also provide renovations and a vehicle fitted with wheelchair hydraulics for Londanani Care Centre in Limpopo.”
Other grants will go towards funding the construction of standard classrooms, drop-in centres, early childhood development centres, the provision of converted vehicles and the renovation and extension of skills development facilities.
Maruyama said Japan’s commitment to empowering women through these initiatives was the result of an international woman’s empowerment conference that Japan has hosted since 2014.
“I am also particularly pleased that today’s signing ceremony is taking place just a few days after International Women’s Day.
“During this important year of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, we would also like to pay particular attention to organisations that serve persons living with disabilities,” he said.
“By ensuring women and people with disabilities are empowered, we ensure that the whole nation is empowered.
“Going forward, we will continue to support the improvement of economic-social disparities through the creation of a social infrastructure so women and people with disabilities can play a healthy and active role in society.”