Alumni changing the world one student at a time
As part of the IMAGINE campaign, we have formed a partnership with the Windle Trust International (WTI). The WTI challenges poverty and inequality by expanding access to, and improving the quality of, education and training. The South Sudan Country Director of the WTI is a Reading alumnus, David Masua. David was able to complete his MSc at Reading thanks to the Trust, and he is keen to open this path to many more students in the future.
David told us: "Windle Trust International is a British non-governmental educational organisation that works in the Eastern Africa region. Our work includes provision of education at all levels to refugees and other conflict affected and marginalised communities. In South Sudan in particular, a country emerging out of conflict, there is a huge need for qualified and highly skilled leaders and, therefore, a need for training. Under the WTI scholarship programme many students are sent to the UK to complete a masters degree. In fact, this is how I undertook my masters degree programme at the University of Reading. At the WTI, we are aware of the prestigious courses in agriculture, development and education offered at Reading, therefore we agreed that there is a need to develop a relationship with the University to allow more students to study there. There is currently one student at the University of Reading through the WTI, and we hope many more students will be placed there in the near future funding permitting."
In honour of this new partnership, we have made David our focus for the alumni profile of the month:
Tell us briefly about yourself and career:
I trained as a secondary school teacher at Makerere University Kampala, Uganda. After graduation, I went to work in South Sudan. The work in South Sudan changed me from a teacher to an education advocate because of the need in the country emerging from conflict. In South Sudan, the high illiteracy rate and lack of trained teachers are combined with the need to develop the education system, including all policies and the education infrastructure from the start. I got involved in all these at various levels working for Windle Trust International as a Centre Manager, directing teacher training programmes. When I returned from the University of Reading in 2008, I successfully re-applied for a job at Windle Trust International as an Operations Manager; today I am the South Sudan Country Director.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?
I chose the University of Reading because of the course, MSc in Education for Training and Development. This course covered all the areas of my work and the needs of South Sudan from policy to literacy, particularly language in education policy. The course modules at the University of Reading were my main attraction as they allowed me to study exactly what I wanted.
What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?
- Studying: We were well supported by our amazing personal tutors; they were our friends, and it was a new experience to me that I could have a personal tutor who cared so much about my studies.
- Living: I made many friends in Reading, whom I still go back to visit; I am also still in touch with my course mates from around the world. Reading was my first global connection.
What would be your top tips for others interested in working in this sector?
Try doing something small such as volunteering to develop in your area of expertise. The sky is the limit.
What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?
I am proud to be a University of Reading alumnus; my return from Reading changed everything for me. My favourite memory is the support from the University community, the Chaplaincy and its international focus.