volunteers

Cinema for the visually impaired gives moviegoers new sights

Inside a small cinema in Jakarta, Indonesia, muffled back-and-forth conversation can be heard as movie watchers talk quietly amongst each other.

 

No – they aren’t being rude. This is a typical night at Bioskop Bisik, a “whisper cinema” designated to help visually impaired people enjoy a movie with the help of volunteers describing the scene.

 

“I want people to accept that people with disabilities, especially people with visual impairments are part of society,” the mastermind behind the cinema, Cici Suciati, told AJ+.

 

Screenings are held in the second week of every month at an alternative cafe space that deems itself as a “culinary cinema”. Volunteers are recruited through social media, many of whom help out regularly.

 

“This is a new and fun way of volunteering. I can give something to others in a way that’s never been done before and I’m able to see differently from their perspective,” Dina, a volunteer, told The Jakarta Post.

 

While listening to the audio can give visually impaired moviegoers a good idea of what’s going on, it often is not enough to set the provide all the information needed to understand a scene. An out-of-context scream, for example, can be interpreted as one of joy or frustration.

 

“This helps me a lot in terms of widening my horizons as a visually impaired person who likes movies very much,” said Siswanto of the initiative.

 

Photo Credits: The Jakarta Post

"Hold on, wait". A story of Yukio Shige, a man who patrols lonely Japanese coasts to prevent others from suicide.

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Some years ago, 29-year-old Yutaka Yamaoka was sitting by the Tojinbo cliffs, contemplating suicide after unemployment hit him hard. But a retired Japanese police officer found him, spoke with him for two hours and invited him to stay at his apartment. The ex-officer comforted Yamaoka, letting him know that suicide is never the answer.

Such is the work of Yukio Shige. Now in his seventies, Shige dedicates his life to patrolling the Tojinbo cliffs overlooking the Sea of Japan and preventing people from committing suicide.

Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries in the world, and the Tojinbo cliffs is notorious for suicides. Shige and his team of volunteers come to the cliffs everyday on the lookout for people who are contemplating putting an end to their lives. They also provide temporary homes for them to repair and rebuild their lives.

Shige, known as “chotto matte” man, which translates to “hold on, wait”, has saved over 500 lives in the past ten years. Inspired by the suicide of a close friend, Shige understands the pain of dealing with suicide and wants to let those feeling depressed know they are never alone. He criticizes the lack of care on the part of local authorities for the country’s high suicide rate.

“I will continue until the government finally gets its act together and takes over,” he said. “I can’t let their inaction cost another precious life.”

More on this story here