The University of Western Australia student, who is studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science, said that the work she is doing will make a difference in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands School by providing school teachers with the training and resources to run the Yoga and Mindfulness lessons, to educate and support Aboriginal communities to use yoga as a tool to help improve the children’s mental and physical wellbeing.
“Additionally, the implementation of the program aims to improve school attendance by creating an exciting school environment. “
Ms Kumar adds that “it has been rewarding to expand her knowledge about Aboriginal culture, and to better understand the ways in which Aboriginal communities can be supported to drive continuous improvement within their own communities.”
“Although the internship has been a deeply rewarding experience it has also shown some challenges, namely the diversity in cultures and languages between different Aboriginal communities, presents various challenges in tailoring the program to meet the specific cultural needs of the different communities,” Ms Kumar said.
“My experience at YOGAZEIT has reaffirmed to me how beneficial yoga can be for one’s body and mind, as I have been practicing yoga for over five years. This experience has also increased my passion and desire to continue to make a contribution to the area of Aboriginal health and wellbeing in the future” Shakeeta shared.
Regina Cruickshank, Executive Director of YOGAZEIT said that Shakeeta was very professional, organised and supportive.
“She immersed herself into the topic with a genuine interest for Aboriginal Culture and she expanded on the project work with Yogazeit Ltd. by establishing connections and learning opportunities within UWA,” Ms Cruickshank continued.
Ms Cruickshank confirmed that whilst this was the first intern YOGAZEIT has had through the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, their experience had been so positive, that they would definitely be hosting more interns in the future.
More than 1,200 students have now undertaken their internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship contributing more than 120,000 hours in service to the community.
Director Michelle Scott said the “overwhelming” number of applications from students to participate in the internship program was a sign that young people were increasingly seeking opportunities to engage with and give back to their communities.
“It is clear UWA students have a great appetite for internships with a social purpose,” Ms Scott said.
“They have seen the very practical way that their peers can contribute, even during the COVID-19 pandemic and want to do the same.”