Voices That Care

Say Hello to ... Annette

Every single person in Care2Run’s ecosystem is essential, and we’ve grown so much in three years thanks to all the different individuals who’ve played a part in getting us to where we are.

It is for this reason that we aim to hand this section over to our people – our participants, coaches, volunteers, parents, friends and loved ones – so they can tell you what Care2Run means to them.

This week we say hello to ….. Drs. Annette Zandvliet, a communications expert and nurse from the Netherlands who is determined to help Care2Run grow.

MY family and I really loved our trip to Malaysia! And we will be back. We loved the people, climate, culture, nature and all the delicious food,” Drs. Annette Zandvliet says of her recent trip here.

The main reason Annette, a communications expert and registered nurse from the Netherlands, hopes to return though, is because of Care2Run.

In July this year, Annette spent a couple of weeks working and interacting with the Care2Run team. And what she saw and experienced convinced her to keep contributing.

We’ll let her tell you more …

Hello there, Annette. Could you share with us what you do professionally?
Hello. I started my professional life as a nurse in 1984, first at several departments (surgical and neurological) in the Elisabeth Gasthuis Hospital in the Netherlands. After a few years of doing that, I became a district nurse and worked for a short time serving the villages of Badhoevedorp and Haarlem. Working as a nurse on the weekends and in the evenings allowed me time to study, so I enrolled in the University of Leiden, where I specialised in health education and communications research. After graduating in 1994, I held various positions, including as a researcher, and junior and (later) senior communications adviser.

Three years ago, I was appointed the Project Leader for Education at ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development. I wanted to work in all domains of research, policy, practice and education when I began, and my wish has come true. In my current role, the main goal is to provide healthcare and welfare professionals with the best and latest, state-of-the-art knowledge.

How did you find out about Care2Run and what made you want to come to Malaysia to work with us?
I’d taken a sabbatical, and the goal during this sabbatical was to try and transfer my knowledge and working experiences to a social or health non-profit organisation. I was searching for quite a long time for the right project because the balance between “pick up and take off” (of picking up the skills and applying them) had to be just right. My colleague Denise Temmink, a pioneer team member of Care2Run, then introduced me to Care2Run and told me about the issues the organisation was facing. That’s when I found my destination.

What was the experience of working with us like?
Seeing how welfare for differently-abled people is organised in Malaysia and how Care2Run responds to the needs of differently-abled young persons was very enriching for me. There is quite a gap between Malaysia and the Netherlands in terms of government legislation and regulations. In the Netherlands, the legislation results in all sorts of provisions for differently-abled people. They participate in society, can build lives, and acquire jobs and housing. Also, our infrastructure is quite different, here. The Netherlands is a country with an extensive network of hiking and cycling trails. So it was interesting to see and experience the differences.

From what you’ve seen and heard, do you feel Malaysia is on the right track in terms of working towards improving the lives of differently-abled persons?
It is all about processes and yes, I’ve heard good things about the progress being made to help differently-abled people, both adults and children. However, it will take time for all the goals to be met.

You were involved in the final assessment and graduation of this year’s Junior Leaders Programme. What are your thoughts about the JLP?
Achieving success, such as by obtaining a diploma, empowers a person. I enjoyed the graduation and the recognition that the junior leaders received. It was a big celebration, and they were given prominence. That will have a major effect on their self-esteem. Of course, there is much more needed. And one of these is to help these differently-abled junior leaders integrate with society.

What are your aspirations for Care2Run, Annette?  
Every process and effort is welcome, and I hope society responds to what Care2Run is striving towards. I also hope to be able to support and advise Care2Run and maybe, visit Malaysia from time-to-time. Care2Run’s main goal is to transform lives through sports, but sports is just one aspect. Creating jobs and providing better education are other aspects that help differently-abled persons participate in society, and I’m happy that Care2Run is also focussing on those things.

** Annette continues to support us despite her responsibilities at ZonMw, the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.

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