@What is Eco-Block?

The Eco-Block is a square block,(30cm~30cm~6cm), the surface of which contains colorful pieces of scrap stone, brick or ceramics, arranged in two layers of mortar. It can be used as a mosaic pavement or in the floor of a building.
The idea of Eco-Block originated with Dr Takaaki Hashida, a Japanese architect who obtained his Ph.D. from Edinburgh University in 1980. The Eco-Block has two purposes:

1. To make good use of the odds and ends of construction materials (stone, brick, ceramics, tiles, etc.), which normally are not easily recycled.
2. To offer an opportunity for mentally challenged people to produce a high market value article, so that they can become socially and financially independent.

Our mission is to help mentally challenged people by offering them job opportunities in the production of our patent product, Eco-Block.

 

@NPO Profile

The NPO Eco-Block Association was established in 1999. The mission is to support mentally challenged people to become socially independent by offering them the opportunity of making Eco-Block and other mosaic products. The NPO produces designs, blueprints and construction charts for the walls and floors of buildings and pavements in parks, etc., using Eco-Block. The designs may be used for both public and private construction projects. The NPO is hosting a training program for the mentally challenged at a workshop in Kashiwa, Chiba. After the training program, the NPO issues certificates and provides the trainees with job opportunities. At present, several vocational aid centers, including one high school for the mentally challenged, are engaged in the production of Eco-Blocks, having received permission to use Dr. Hashida's patent.

Name F NPO Eco-Block Association
Address F 177 Masuo, Kashiwa-city, Chiba Prefecture, 277-0033, Japan
Tel F 04-7170-5081
Fax F 04-7170-5082
Chairman F Takaaki Hashida, Ph.D. in Architecuture, First class authorized architect

 

@Why the Mentally Challenged?

Generally in Japan, work given to mentally challenged people is simple, monotonous and requires little technical skill. As a result, their products are normally rated very low in the market. In the case of Eco-Block, however, products made by properly-trained mentally challenged people have been highly estimated in the market. They have been sold at a competitive price because of their unique artistic refinement. These well-trained people's works have been introduced many times in the mass media, including in newspapers, on TV news reports and in documentaries. They have been highly valued as works of art. Although part of the pavement work using Eco-Blocks requires a higher level of skill, we encourage the mentally challenged workers' participation at the construction site. This way they can have see firsthand how their products are actually used, and feel like an active member of society. Surprisingly, many have shown a remarkable improvement in their ability, not only at the production site of Eco-Block, but also in group work at construction site.

 

@Current Project

gMosaic art by mentally challenged people with childrenh: Grant Program gKids in the Arth by UBS and Social Innovation Japan
The program's goal is to teach mentally challenged children the art of making Eco-Blocks, based on their own designs. The program is taught by mentally challenged adults who are highly skillful in the production of the Eco-Mosaic products. This program is to be conducted on behalf of about 40 mentally challenged children at two schools. The purpose of this program is to enhance their artistic talent and to support their job opportunities.

The mentally challenged children developed a story of dwarfs in a wind blowing off seeds of dandelions.

@International Cooperation

In 2004, the NPO welcomed exchange trainees from Afghanistan, and taught them how to make Eco-Block. Since 2005, the NPO has provided disabled people in Afghanistan, such as those who lost their legs due to the war, with an gEco-Block Training Programh. This training is being conducted in the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled Building in Kabul. The project is expected to increase the role of disabled people in revitalizing their local communities after the war.
The NPO provides trainees all over the world with gEco-Block Training Programh.

Center: the Mayor of Kabul, Right: the minister of the Ministry of Disabled and Martyrs (2005) Construction completed by people who lost their legs due to the war

 

@Completed Construction Projects

Public Construction: 150 sites
Matsudo City Hall entrance, Shinshu University entrance, Ichikawa City walkway, Yatsuo Cho Park in Toyama Prefecture, and so on

Private Construction: 70 sites
Hotel, apartment and various building entrances, and pavements in private gardens, and so on