Laurena Basutu, this year’s recipient of the University UN Women Australia MBA Scholarshipmigrated from Zimbabwe to regional New South Wales and saw firsthand how access to infrastructure can break down barriers and tackle inequality.
“Growing up in Zimbabwe, I was constantly reminded that I was one of the lucky few, born after independence in 1980, whose future would not be compromised by colonialism. I would have access to opportunities that my mother and her mother before her could only dream of,” Laurena says.
“It wasn’t until I moved to Australia in 2004 and took the free school bus to Narooma High School. [on the NSW south coast] that I understood what real access was. This bus trip changed my life. It gave me the structural support to access an education that would not have been available to me otherwise. Beyond that, it opened my eyes to the fact that no one can be free without equal access.
Laurena now works at Transport for NSW and her long-term goal is to create sustainable infrastructure that gives women physical, economic and social access to opportunity.
Bachelor of Laws student, Louise Press, said her scholarship helped ignite her passion for social justice and opened the door to the range of alternative careers available with a law degree.
“The financial assistance provided by this bursary allowed me to continue volunteering at the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Redfern Legal Centre,” says Louise. “These experiences rekindled my passion for social justice while exposing me to the realities of public interest counsel and the lived experiences of some of the most marginalized members of our community.
“Without the scholarship, I would not have had the financial resources to continue volunteering and therefore would not have gained the experience, insight and skills to work in this space.”