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Agrieneth Masule

Agrieneth wears a black top and black and red skirt. She stands side on to the camera and smiles

Agrieneth Masule

MSc International Social Welfare and Social Policy 2019

1. Tell us about yourself.
I'm a mother of two, avid youth community activist, and fun teacher at heart. In 2016, I founded a charity club - Motlaletsi Charity Club (MCC) and made efforts to help the children in my community.

Upon graduating from ARU, I returned to Botswana and resumed teaching, but in 2020, the global pandemic left many of us unemployed. I was suspended from my duties and went months without working. Since I had always been committed to community development, particularly the provision of education to the less privileged, girl child education, the fight against period poverty and wellbeing of the school going child, I concentrated my efforts on the community service activities which were available.

In 2020, I resurrected the social campaign ‘Give me a Smile’ – a project initially started in 2008, supporting school-going children, with a focus on providing basic toiletries for schoolchildren that the parents were unable to provide. MCC provides sanitary pads, toothpaste, toothbrushes, flannels and soap, and the sanitary pad campaign alone has helped over 2000 children in different primary and secondary schools around Botswana.

In 2022, I walked 252km in 8 days to raise funds and awareness about period poverty, and the challenges young girls face during menstruation as a result of not having sanitary pads. More than 20000 sanitary pads were collected and donated to schools for the full academic year.

We also run ‘Little Shoes Project’, whereby MCC provides school shoes and socks to children who walk miles to school and back barefoot. Through my contacts in Cambridge, England, we collaborated with the Rotary Club of Cambridge and secured £2000 towards the purchase of school shoes and socks for 245 children in 3 different schools in rural areas. Since starting the campaign, we’ve helped over 1200 children in various communities and will continue to do so until no child has to walk to school barefoot.

My greatest desire is to continue to contribute to the community development of strong policies, pioneer against period poverty, compete against young girls dropping out of school to become mothers at a very young age, and ultimately, help vulnerable communities fight global poverty and youth unemployment.

I want to help raise more awareness from a grassroots level and engage our local communities to understand the significance of education for our young girls and how they can help contribute to societal and community development. Girls and women play a fundamental role in our country in terms of human capital and development, and therefore it is necessary to do as much as we can to empower them at a young age.

2. What is your fondest memory of Anglia Ruskin University?
The long challenging hours in the library and of course the many great friends I brought into my circle while at ARU.

3. What has been your favourite job?
I started off my career as a teacher more than 10 years ago and to this day I still love teaching. It is my way of changing and touching lives of the many through classroom interaction. Without my teaching, I wouldn't have been able to identify children in need and find a way to help them reach their potential goals through the community service I've undertaken.

4. In one word, how would you describe Anglia Ruskin University?

5. How did your time at ARU help you?
Through my studies, I realised that you can never say you have learned enough or reached your total achievements. I faced many challenges being away from my family and my child during my studies and believe I learned the true definition of strength and determination. There were many times when I wanted to give up because it was challenging and I was homesick, and so I had to remember the sacrifices I had made to be where I was. My little girl was away from her mother and that was a huge motivating factor to give it my all and finish my course so that no one would be disappointed.

ARU taught me about diversity and tolerance in many ways. The presentations and assignments grounded you and fostered an energy of teamwork for success and through those experiences, I continue to use my skills to bring change in my community.

6. What did you love about your chosen course?
My course introduced me to peoples from different backgrounds with varied expertise, which sparked intriguing conversations and a variety of perceptions as to how we view the world, which meant there were always interesting conversations of varied mindsets and understanding.

7. What advice would you give to current students as they are preparing to graduate?
Focus, and approach everything with balance. Never forget why you embarked on this journey but also don't be afraid to reach out to others and ask for assistance when you are struggling. You will face many challenges and you will get homesick but if you remember your goals, then you will be on the right track. Remember to have a good balance of schoolwork and social life, do not let either of them suffer, as having that balance will catapult you to the winner’s arena. Days will be varied therefore study, exercise, eat well, pray and socialise with people who lift your spirits. That is the little advice I can share.

8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying?
I wish I would have opened up more to people, and not kept to myself. I also wish that I had researched the market and contacted more people who had taken the same course as me years before to see how they were utilising their skills and what they had gone on to achieve.

9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
My family and my best friends. My father had never been to school and my mother had only received some basic education, but their support has made me reach for the stars whenever I wanted to do something. They have all, in their different ways, championed me, even when I battled to believe in myself.

10. What advice would you give your younger self?
Definitely put everything down on paper, tick the boxes as you go along, look back and appreciate the milestones. Never ever doubt yourself, for you have so much potential, that you can't even begin to imagine. Dream big, so big that it scares you - as it still continues to do now and those dreams shall shape your path. Always be eager to learn and to seek advice.

11. Tell us something about yourself that most people do not know.
To this day, I still struggle to make friends even with my social skills.

12. What’s next?
Forge more partnerships to help more children to get to school, to remain there and complete their studies. I also want to use my strength and abilities to protect more young girls from issues of defilement, teenage pregnancies and dropping out of school. I want to encourage more girls to follow their dreams and to never doubt themselves for there is so much opportunity ahead. I truly believe women have the power to make an impact in our communities.