4. Yuka Kaneko

Sponsor Club: Kumagaya East, Japan, District 2570

Host Club: Archerfield

Yuka KANEKO (Yuka), is from Japan, Saitama Prefecture and was sponsored by the Rotary Club in Kumagaya City in Saitama. Her host Rotary Club in Australia is the Rotary Club of Archerfield. While studying International Socio-Cultural Studies at Keisen University, she spent many months doing voluntary work helping asylum seekers and refugees in Japan with housing and legislation support, whilst also helping to conduct research into the issue of child prostitution in Chiangmai, Thailand. After graduating with a Bachelor Degree from the University, she spent the first four years of her professional career with the Japanese branch of the Catholic Committee for Asylum-seekers, Refugees and Migrant Workers. She then acquired further experience with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, working as a project coordinator for different units within JICA for three years.

During her Applied Field Experience, as an intern with JICA, Yuka was tasked with conducting feasibility surveys and analysis for community development projects in the Kambia District of Sierra Leone. In order to figure out the community’s needs, her team conducted surveys with civilians in Kambia through community workshops. Furthermore, to improve service delivery and the development capacity of the district officers, they funded the construction of small infrastructure projects in various communities, including water pumps and footpaths. Throughout the process, the team instructed district officers about the details of the administrative management processes in community development, and supported community development by funding basic infrastructural improvements.

Yuka’s long-term goals are to work for an international organization such as UNHCR, and to spend some time with an international NGO; as she is convinced that it is through closer relationships between such organizations that international understanding and world peace will advance to the next stage.