Voices That Care

Say Hello to ... Yuka & Naz

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 ….. Yuka Tsuboi and Nazuna Koga, university students from Japan who’ve learnt that everyone at Care2Run plays a part in making sure programmes are run effectively and efficiently.

FOR over a year now, Care2Run has been privileged to play host to university students from Japan who’ve sought to learn about how sports and exercise can be used to transform the lives of differently-abled young persons. 

And like the interns who’ve worked with us before, Yuka and Nazuna experienced first-hand how everyone plays a part in making sure programmes are run effectively and efficiently.

“You can’t compare Care2Run to other enterprises. Here, everyone has responsibilities and duties behind the scenes, and they all take pride in making sure the work is done well. But the best part about it is, despite the challenging workload, the culture here is really fun,” says Naz, an international relations student from Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo.

Yuka, who’s also an international relations undergrad at the same university, concurs, “I really like the passion that everyone has. You can see that everyone is responsible for what they are entrusted to do. For me, besides the programmes, that’s what I especially liked about Care2Run.”

Yuka and Naz, who are volunteers with AIESEC, an organisation which provides young people with leadership and volunteer exchange experiences across the globe, add that they learnt much more over the course of their six weeks with Care2Run. And here they are with that story …

Hi there, Yuka and Naz! Could you share with us what made you want to come and intern with Care2Run?
Yuka: Hello! The AIESEC Hitotsubashi University Community has a partnership with AIESEC at Taylor’s University, and that arrangement presents volunteers with opportunities to work with Care2Run. However, personally, I learnt about Care2Run from speaking with another AIESEC volunteer, Kanta, who’d worked with Care2Run earlier this year. I decided to come and work for Care2Run because it focuses on supporting differently-abled young people, which I am very interested in. When I spoke with Kanta, he mostly talked about the kind of things AIESEC volunteers do with Care2Run and especially, how passionate Prem is about the programmes. He also told me that interns would have many opportunities to communicate with differently-abled young people. But he did warn me that it can sometimes be tough to communicate with differently-abled young persons.

I’d heard that interns have a lot of free time, and volunteers should think about how to spend that time wisely. The reality is actually quite the opposite. There is a lot to do. But perhaps, the workload depends on the season. For me, I’d heard through AIESEC that Care2Run is an organisation that provides opportunities for differently-abled young persons through sports, and that’s what interested me.

Was this the first time for both of you in Malaysia? What do you like about the country?
Yuka: Yes, it was. I loved the food so much, especially nasi lemak. Also, I’m now a big fan of passion fruit and mangosteens!

Naz: I too really like the food culture in Malaysia. I was able to eat Chinese, Malay, and Indian dishes in the same country.

You both helped facilitate certain activities during the Junior Leaders Programme and were also involved with the camping trip to Janda Baik for kids from Women’s Aid Organisation. Can you share with us about those experiences?
Yuka: It was such a great experience to see how happy the participants and parents were on Graduation Day. We mostly helped with the evaluation process for the assessments and weren’t directly involved as facilitators, but I loved it. At the camp, we helped look after the kids and facilitate some of the activities. It was an enriching experience, and I loved walking in the river! It was so much fun to experience the beautiful natural surroundings Malaysia has to offer.

Naz: The camp experience was great, and I enjoyed it a lot. In terms of activities, we did tracking, running, and other assorted games. It was rewarding seeing the kids enjoy the activities and growing through them.

Now that you’ve experienced first-hand what Care2Run does, what are your thoughts about the approach of using sports to transform the lives of differently-abled young persons?
Yuka: I like the approach because the programmes focus on trying to get differently-abled kids to be more active, energetic, and connect with other people. To me, the activities are geared towards getting kids to be less dependent on their parents and families, and that’s a great approach.

Naz: I totally agree with Care2Run’s approach. Sports can improve things like confidence, and that will allow participants to experience success. Plus, sports and exercise are very good for one’s health.

Have your perceptions of differently-abled persons change after your internship experience here?
Yuka: Yes, they have. I have an aunt who is differently-abled and I’ve lived with her since I was born. For many years, I thought my aunt and people like her would never be able to do anything with their lives without help. However, from interning with Care2Run, I’ve come to realise that with the right guidance differently-abled persons can have fulfilling lives.

Naz: Yes. I learnt that it is not possible to sum up differently-abled persons in a single statement or sentence. Every individual has his or her own challenges, goals, and personalities. And it is important to know what those are.

What are your aspirations for Care2Run?
Yuka: I want more people to come and work for Care2Run. If Care2Run attracts more people, it can raise the awareness of more people and I believe it can make a big impact on society.

Naz: Care2Run is currently looking at options to help differently-abled persons transition into the workforce and I hope some of these projects will be successful.

What would your advice be to young people like yourselves who’re looking to join Care2Run as interns?
Yuka: My advice would be that from working with Care2Run, you’ll be able to see how differently-abled kids can actually improve through sports, and you’ll see how they achieve that with while smiling and laughing. Also, you’ll be able to learn what neurodiversity is and why it is important to raise awareness about it.

Naz: There are many opportunities to improve yourself through Care2Run! So don’t be afraid to step into this new world!

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