Since the beginning of the year 2000, the Kamagasaki Housing Community has been discussing the need for local residents' participation (including rough sleepers) to start activities for community development and the creation of jobs as well as the importance of immediate action and support for homeless people. Now that it is clear the existing system is not sufficient, we need to establish a new system for the aged homeless people, who have been suffering from the pressure of a capitalist economic system, in order for them to be able to continue living in the culture of Kamagasaki.
The possibility of an "alternative local economic system in the Kamagasaki community" was also raised and one important proposal was discussed: the utilization of a system of "micro credit" developed in Asia and the United States and "local currency/eco-money" that has been tried in several places in Japan.
The first learning session was held in April 2000. After that we tried a local currency game based on LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) and also experimented using local currency in paper money form during Summer Festival.
"Yaritori Hakka (How-to cyclopedia)" was made in the Fall of 2001; since then, the implementation of local currency was started. A "wish someone to do list" and a "wish to do list" by people who registered on the local currency network both appear inside "Yaritori Hakka". For example, "go hiking with me", "go to hospital with me", "someone to talk to" etc. were listed for the "wish someone to do list"; also there are "I can do plaster work", "I can write for someone else", "I can take a picture" etc. were included on the "wish to do list". In this way, people can exchange what they can do and what they want somebody to do for them.
About 170 people registered in the network, including homeless people and their supporters. There are morning cafes and Yoga courses in the supportive houses where the local currency can be used. The users' network is expanding through the local currency.
"LETS! Kamagasaki Notebook" (see the illustration)
This notebook is similar to a certification for "small job creation", "making friends" and "community development" for those who wish to revitalize the Kamagasaki community by creating ties among them.
Add your Kama points on this notebook by doing something for others.
If somebody else does something for you, please show your thankfulness and add Kama points to his/her notebook.
Let's exchange Kama points many times and build a pleasant and hospitable Kamagasaki community.