Grace Banda

Grace Banda from Malawi discusses her experience of studying the Woman and Child Abuse MA course at London Met, made possible by her Commonwealth scholarship.

What did receiving this scholarship mean to you?

My Commonwealth scholarship has answered my prayers and fulfilled my vision and dreams. It has enabled me to come to the UK to receive an excellent education at London Metropolitan University, such a wonderful institution. I thank the Commonwealth Commission for connecting me to London Met from the list of other universities. My scholarship has provided me with opportunities I never expected, in allowing me to participate in other forums that have exposed me to life-changing experiences. For instance, I recently attended a study retreat on freedom of religion or belief, which was organised by Cumberland Lodge. This involved a group of 50 students sponsored by Chevening and Commonwealth. During this period I had an opportunity to attend the Sunday service at the royal chapel with Her Majesty the Queen. This is the greatest achievement to see Her Majesty face-to-face.

What do you like best about your course?

The MA in Woman and Child Abuse is a good course. The unit has wonderful tutors who manage the course. They are women of integrity, very competent, multi-skilled, talented, and gifted. The knowledge obtained from this course will help me empower individuals and families to address and overcome violence and all forms of abuse; strengthen their communities; enhance the functioning of individuals, families, groups, and organisations in Malawi.

Does anything surprise you about your course or London Met?

London Met is full of inspirational activities that touch my heart. The environment is conducive to learning. I am not surprised to see the University producing great women and men who will bring about positive change in the lives of vulnerable groups in various communities.

What do you like about life in London?

London is also a wonderful place, it is a hub that connects to any place in the UK. It has good transport links (though trains may be congested and expensive at peak hours). The city provides wonderful historical sites for international students and tourists, such as Big Ben, London Bridge the song we used to sing in childhood years (London Bridge is falling down). There is food that comes from all over the world.

What are your career plans once you complete your course?

After finishing this course, I will continue working with the women, children and young people in rehabilitation centres, ultra-poor households in Malawi, empowering communities and families to combat gender-based violence, child abuse, exploitation and all forms of discrimination against women and girls. This course is also relevant to my personal development goals. When I retire from the civil service, I intend to set up my own rehabilitation centre which will target women and children in need of care and protection. I am quite experienced after serving the Malawi Government in different positions for 32 years.