Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... Eldar
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 ….. Eldar Yeskuatov, who says he has learnt so much about working with differently-abled young persons since joining Care2Run as a volunteer mentor.
ELDAR says he’d never done any voluntary work before hearing about Care2Run. However, once he’d spoken to his colleague and boss – volunteer mentor Darshini S. – and saw for himself what Care2Run was all about, he knew he wanted to be a part of our mission to transform the lives of differently-abled young people through sports.
“Darshini shared with me about her experience during the Junior Leaders Programme and how she’d connected with Navilan and that got me interested. But what really made me want to become a mentor was seeing these kids having so much fun working and playing together.
“I’d not had any experience with differently-abled persons. However, seeing how everyone – mentors and mentees – interacted with each other without prejudice made me think that I could perhaps play a small role and help in some way,” says the project administrator who hails from Kazakhstan and has been here in Malaysia for five years now.
Hey there, Eldar. You’ve mentioned that you found out about Care2Run through Darshini. How did the two of you start talking about the programme?
Hi there! Actually what happened was we were in the office one day and Darshini mentioned that she’d just met someone from Kazakhstan at the place she volunteers at. She actually meant Care2Run’s former intern, Begimai, who is from Kirgizstan, but anyway, I was intrigued to find out what kind of work Darshini did. She briefly told me that it involves mentoring differently-abled kids and then she said if I was interested, she’d pass my number to Leena. That’s basically how I joined the first Foundation Programme Open Day in early September.
That’s awesome! What made you want to give Care2Run a try?
I think all of us at some point feel like we should be giving back to society in some way and for me, when the opportunity presented itself, I guess I just decided to take that step.
What do you personally love about Care2Run?
You know, it’s rare to find kids with say autism playing and working together in a community with kids who have Down syndrome or ADHD … I love that. Another factor is seeing differently-abled kids being mentored by other differently-abled kids. That, to me, is unique.
You had to undergo a special volunteer training programme before graduating from observer to volunteer mentor. Did you find the orientation programme beneficial?
Definitely. Unlike some other volunteers, I wasn’t aware of the various differences and how young people with certain differences – like Down syndrome or autism – behave or express themselves. For me, it was important to learn these things and especially how to react as a mentor to different situations. There are so many things that we tend to take for granted – like how you shouldn’t stand when you talk to a child who’s sitting, but rather that you should kneel or sit so that you’re at their eye-level – and it was necessary to learn what to do, and what not to do.
You’ve been mentoring Sudarsshan since the Foundation Programme began. Could you share with us what that experience has been like?
It’s been great working with Sudrasshan. He’s attentive and quick to learn, and always eager to participate in activities. He’s a just a regular boy and we seem to connect quite well. At this point, working together isn’t difficult at all but it was slightly challenging in the beginning, not because of Sudarsshan, but because I was unsure of my role. It took a little time for me to learn what I had to do and for Sudarsshan to warm up to me as well.
Having been with the programme for about three months now, how do you find sports and physical activity benefits differently-abled kids?
Every kid’s experience may be different but I think that at the most basic level, sports offers an opportunity to have fun and be active, which for some kids doesn’t happen a lot. It also allows some of these kids an opportunity to meet and interact with people from various backgrounds. Some differently-abled kids live very sheltered lives and only interact with family members and teachers, so sports, especially through Care2Run’s programmes, does provide an opportunity to break out of that.
What are your aspirations for Care2Run?
I’m not entirely sure about this as I’m still so new to the organisation. I’ve really just enjoyed being a part of all the activities.