Dedicated to mum

Last week Tota Otufangavalu graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work, today she shares her University of Canterbury story.

TotaThis degree is dedicated to my mum Maugalega Yvonne Otufangavalu.

Before my mum passed away, her dream for me was to become a social worker. Struggling to grow up without her became my most significant drive throughout my high school years, making it an easy decision for me to study Social Work at university.

My studies have provided me with the chance to grow in all aspects of life and helped me to develop my passion in social justice, human rights and advocating for vulnerable children, young people and families. While my journey as an undergraduate student comes to an end I must say that it has been the most challenging yet most rewarding experience of my life.

The transition from high school to university was an intense struggle for me but I thank the Pacific Development Team for providing excellent mentoring and tutoring services that were valuable for me throughout all my years here at UC.

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you Jesus for being my strength when times were rough. I give you back all the glory and honour because my achievements would have been impossible without you.

Thank you to my loving father Taitusi and brothers Falaniko, Latu and Sioeli, who are my greatest supporters and have stood by me since day one. To my partner, Martin – Thank you for keeping me grounded and for believing in my dreams. Thank you to my aunties Vaha and Susana for the unconditional love you have shown me. And a special thank you to my sisters Sandy, Una, Veta and Kelly for being the ears to all my problems and sponsoring me when my allowance never made it to the next week haha. Last but not least, thank you to my beautiful in-laws for the endless amount of encouragement.

Ehara taku toa, I te takitahi, he toa takitini

My successes are not mine alone, they are the successes of many.

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