3. Ibegwam, currently a 2nd-year AAI Scholar studying at a University in Japan

Ibegwam, currently a 2nd-year AAI Scholar studying at a University in Japan

Ibegwam Chigaemezu Olaedo is a 2nd-year Japanese track Scholar at Okayama University in Japan. At Okayama, she is taking on a Special Needs Education and Child Psychology degree while working as a part-time translator/interpreter in her free time.

As a student, Ms. Olaedo has contemplated complimenting the skills and her education that will be relevant to her goals to contribute to her community. In doing so, she created a solid foundation for her future career and development. Even though her current journey has been challenging, she has put significant effort into trying to learn from her peers and teachers. She says the Ashinaga Africa Initiative has provided her, as a Scholar, with a support group that, despite the challenges, has greatly inspired and comforted her. Part of the support offered to Scholars focuses heavily on pooling a wealth of resources to aid their social and emotional well-being and professional development. Through the Professional Network Development (PND) Team’s tailored one-on-one coaching, Ms. Olaedo found the professional journey easier to navigate as she strengthened her ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Besides providing access to such coaching, the team offered access to opportunities that led to an internship position for Ms. Olaedo. She entered Partners in Health – Inshuti Mu Buzima (PIH-IMB, an international nonprofit organization that helps build and sustain public health systems in poor and underserved communities in Rwanda. The PND Team developed the partnership and successful internship opportunity with PIH-IMB through an Ashinaga-san (Kenjin-Tatsujin). At PIH-IMB, Ms. Olaedo will be working with the early intervention program in the Pediatric Development Clinic to offer psychosocial care to children with developmental challenges while educating their parents on how to support their children’s development effectively. She will also conduct research and analysis to create a manual that will help in the delivery of the program and will serve as a foundation for a support group for parents.

Ms. Olaedo is highly excited about her journey with PIH-IMB. She believes that her most significant takeaway from the internship will be her ability to learn and gain relevant experience that will help her achieve her goals for the future. She highlighted the value of an internship as essential to her growth, saying, “Graduating without gaining experience would have been a big slap in the face” because getting real-world experience bolsters the energy she needs to push through to her goals and objectives. She understands that to contribute to her society or community; she must have tangible and feasible plans that the internship will augment.

According to Ms. Olaedo, commitment, time, and experience are all valuable to her journey. She believes organizations should recognize and create space for students to learn to become better versions of themselves. Change may not be easy to embrace and can be quite challenging; however, she believes in staying calm and being patient with oneself because growth is gradual.

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