Hi, I’m Fungai Moetsabi and in this blog I’d like to share my experiences studying and working with communities in Dundee. I was born and bred in Zimbabwe and I migrated to the United Kingdom in 2002, moving to Scotland in 2010. As a migrant, I faced some challenges that put my life on hold for 10 years while trying to settle into the UK. However, after being granted leave-to-remain status, I decided to pursue my career goals
I grew up in an era that encouraged discipline and the value of education. This provided me both the opportunity to be positively competitive and successful in pursuing career choices. One of my major strengths is that I am outgoing, confident and enjoy meeting new people. With this in mind I chose and gained a place to study Community Education at the University of Dundee. A role that requires considerable contact with members of the public most of the time.
Being of migrant background myself, I am acutely aware of the inequalities which minority groups face for having different cultural viewpoints. My knowledge of how sociocultural limits and policies of host society impacts on the livelihood of migrants influenced my choice of practice learning placements.
In my final two years in University, I had my placement and internship with Fife Migrant Forum working with people from diverse backgrounds. Fife Migrant Forum’s vision is based on community development which sets out a vision to promote equality and social justice though breaking barriers to participation. They work with migrants giving them a voice, the power to challenge decisions that affect their lives while fostering a sense of belonging. My placement equipped me with the ability to support individuals through listening as well as helping them to reflect on their lived experience in order to make changes that enhance community participation.
As a Community Education Practitioner and a migrant who also experienced the impact of Covid-19, I conducted a practice enquiry research drawing on fieldwork within a Community Development organisation. This explored the experiences of migrants during the Covid-19 pandemic and how that affected their wellbeing. The research addressed how Fife Migrant Forum promoted equality by assisting migrants to overcome challenges of lockdown.
I conducted interviews online due to lockdown restrictions of no face-to-face contact and this posed a huge challenge on recruiting participants. As much as I had built relationships with people who use the services, they were unsure about taking part in the research online since they had not met me personally. Another challenge encountered was the language barrier. However, this was easily addressed through use of interpreters.
Community Education practice fosters democratic change in the community through daily life activities. The research equipped me with the knowledge to promote social justice by increasing participation in public, economic, social and cultural events. Conducting the research taught me a lot about planning, working on my own initiatives, time and resource management. The research also taught me the essence of engaging with members of the community through participation.
During my final year with Fife Migrant Forum, I was nominated by my colleagues to be part of Team Experience though another organisation. This involved using lived experiences to influence policy makers to make decisions on organisation to fund for employability. I utilised my lived experiences as a migrant, analysing funding applications submitted by various organisations for employability. I highlighted the need to fund organisations that assist migrants integrate into the society, engaging them in projects that enhances their employability skills to make Fife a place which is fair, just and embraces diversity.
Being hardworking, disciplined and driven remains an ethos that is part of my life to date. I was awarded with the Letter of Commendation in my second and third year by the Programme Director and an Engaged Learner Award in my final year. Achieving this means my hard work is being noticed and recognised. I was grateful to be a recipient of this award and I would like to honour those who nominated me as well as the University of Dundee.
Community Education seek to extend the reach of effective democracy by actively engaging those who are excluded from participation in key social processes that shape their lives. My studies equipped me with well-rounded experience and I hope to follow a career in this field. I aim to deliver my service to empower people to achieve their full potential and make personal life changing decisions for themselves and the society through community engagement.
One of the things I like most about Community Education is that involves the blurring of traditional boundaries to emphasise learning that grows out of people’s experience within communities. Leaving school at the age 16 and becoming a mum did not stop me archiving my goal which I accomplished. Life can be challenging, but I would like to encourage people to use opportunities available and thrive to archive goals. My journey evolved from participating in a programme organised by Fife Council Community Learning Development Team, and hence my choice of carer. A career in Community Education will keep me close to the communities that have welcomed me and my family to Scotland. I am honoured to be in this country, which is multicultural and embraces diversity.