First Samoan Living with Disability Completes Leadership Training Program in Japan


Mr. Ari Tommy Hazelman is the first Samoan living with a disability to complete the year long Duskin Leadership Training Program in Japan.

Mr. Hazelman is a representative of Nuanua o le Alofa (NOLA), the national disability rights advocacy organisation in Samoa. The Duskin Leadership Training Program is designed for young persons with disability living in Asia and the Pacific who have the willingness and the potential to become leaders in their communities.

Mr. Hazelman was a recipient of the training program in 2019 and completed the course in July 2020. He returned to Samoa on the repatriation flight of 2nd October 2020.

He paid a courtesy call to the Embassy of Japan in Samoa this week, and presented Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Kishi Isao with his Certificate of Completion.

In the meeting, Mr. Hazelman read out Braille on the Certificate in perfect Japanese and shared his experiences of being in Japan for the past 12 months of the training program.

He said he has learnt so much from the program, and now speaks the Japanese language, as well as Japanese Braille.

Hazelman overwhelmed with the kindness shown to him by the people of Japan.

He conveyed his sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the people of Japan for such a life changing opportunity.

“I can never forget Japan and will always continue to promote Japanese ideas and the Japanese language and culture wherever possible”, he said.

Mr. Kishi in response congratulated Mr. Hazelman on his achievement and hopes he will utilise what he has learned from the training program in Japan for the betterment of Samoa and the NOLA organisation, and also to mark the strong continuous relations between Samoa and Japan.