Hans Kai: Group Learning

A community outreach program presented by the

Victoria Community Health Co-operative

with guidance from NorWest Co-op

Supported by:

About the Program:

For many years healthcare professionals and policy makers have known that we need to promote health and wellness, not merely offer medical services. Further, we need a model of health promotion that encourages the collaboration of community members, wellness experts,  and medical professionals. This is the path to reaching as many individuals and communities as possible, affordably and effectively.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed the specific and urgent need for community based, group-focused wellness and health education that is accessible and appealing to a wide range of groups. 

One such tool is Hans Kai– a group health education program developed after World War II in Japan where resources were very scarce. Six decades later, and in a very prosperous Japan, the program remains highly effective. It was brought to Canada by Nor’West Co-op in Winnipeg and then made available across Canada. Victoria Community Health Co-operative is the program lead in BC. We believe this community-led strategy, with minimal medical resources required, will improve our communities’ health and well-being. 

Hans Kaiis a program of the NorWest Co-op:  We are delighted that, throughout the VCHC program development and delivery, we will have the expertise and guidance from the NorWest Co-op, Winnipeg, the Canadian lead for the program.

Hans Kai is economically sustainable, and promotes healthy, resilient communities. The group-facilitated program is designed to improve social connectedness, physical and mental well-being by teaching participants how to take an active role in monitoring their emotional, social and wellness indicators and engage in healthy activities to manage their own health and wellness as they age.

How It Works: 

Hans Kai brings together groups of about 8-40 community members interested in making lifestyle  changes, equipping them with the skills to take an active role in enhancing and managing their  own health and wellness. The Hans Kaiprogram is easy to adapt and works to maintain or improve well-being for a wide variety of communities (eg. young families, teens, seniors, workplace groups, LGBTQ2S groups, people living with altered brain function, and people struggling with addiction).

Hans Kai includes proper eating, sleep hygiene, active socializing, physical fitness, and better mental health and stress management. Specialized components can  be added to meet the needs of specific groups.

Hans Kaigroups decide how often to meet, and for how long. Non-medical professionals, licensed healthcare professionals and practitioners facilitate and support the group as needed. The medical professional time commitment is low, requiring only a minimal amount of medical professional hours, generally around an hour for some of the Hans Health School sessions. Community engagement is high, and the participants become healthier people.

Do you know a group that would benefit from this program? Contact vichealthcoop@gmail.com

How can you support the program?

Donations are encouraged to support this program as well as raise funds for further wellness programming. Any amount is appreciated – however, when you donate to support the Co-op’s programs through their partner organization Creating Community Wellness Society (CCWS), you are eligible to receive a charitable donation receipt for $20 or more. Visit the CCWS website (wellnesscharity.ca) and click “DONATE” or drop off or mail a cheque to: Suite 200 -1075 Pendergast St, Victoria, BC V8V 0A1.