International Day of People with Disabilities: How NPO Canvas is using music to change the lives of people with disabilities
According to WHO, over 1 billion people live with some of the other forms of disability. Their population is increasing due to the ageing population and the surge in chronic health conditions. Although there are healthcare facilities available for them, their disability often becomes the reason for them getting discriminatory treatment, facing isolation and human rights abuse.
We spoke to Masaaki Horie, Founder, NPO Canvas to learn how his nonprofit is using music to bring a ray of hope to the lives of people with disabilities.
How does your nonprofit help people with disabilities?
A: Masaaki – At NPO Canvas, we employ people with disabilities and diseases living in Japan on a teleworking basis. For a lot of these people, it is difficult to commute to offices. Many have an interest in music editing. The focus of our nonprofit is to provide these people with great musical abilities an opportunity to work and create employment within the community. Since they face many challenges in finding jobs due to their disabilities, we do it for them.
How did you come up with the unique idea of starting ‘Canvas?
A: Masaaki – During my mid-thirties, I had some disability due to which I had to stay in bed all day. Slowly, as the treatment progressed, I could move a little. During those days I came across a software called “DTM” which stands for “Desktop Music.” It is a music editing software that allows you to create and edit music. I started working and learning the software and I finally made some music through it and got the chance to publish it for the world to listen to. I realised that there are many others like me with an interest in music but their disability is becoming a barrier for them to work for it. So, I came up with the idea of ‘Canvas where such people could work remotely, create music and live a content life.
What were the challenges that you faced, especially in the light of the pandemic?
A: Masaaki – Before the pandemic, there were two main pillars of our nonprofit- DTM and musical events. After the pandemic, the latter came to a complete halt. The objective of these musical events was more than just displaying the musical talent of people with disabilities. It was also to understand that people with disabilities can have a life as ‘normal’ as healthy people. Because these events were not held, there was no opportunity for many people to understand normalization. Delaying the pandemic event was the biggest challenge we faced.
What are a few things you wish more people knew more about those with disabilities?
A: Masaaki – I want people to understand that people with disabilities often have the same level of skills- musical or otherwise, as those without disabilities. And I also want people to promote a barrier-free environment. By a barrier-free environment, I mean that there should be a better, more inclusive social infrastructure where people with disabilities do not get left behind.
I would also like healthy people to help the ones with disabilities in obtaining a legal employment contract from their employers to avoid exploitation at the workplace since many employers pay less than $1 every day to those with disabilities.
How can corporate volunteers help your nonprofit in furthering the cause?
A: Masaaki – First of all, I would say that finding remote employment opportunities for people with disabilities would help them immensely. The panel discussions with online platforms such as Goodera will also help us spread awareness about our cause. With the help of effective use of media, we can distribute information and gather necessary support – donations, volunteers and other resources.
Celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities with Canvas
You can help NPO Canvas by participating via Goodera’s virtual volunteering experience. The experience is powerful and engaging, making it an excellent choice for getting you started on your virtual volunteering adventure.
Interested? Reach out to us here.
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