Ugandan Student Returns Home in Bid to Transform Children's Lives

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A Ugandan student is hoping to change the lives of many children in her home nation after completing a Masters’ degree in Applied Psychology at the University of Worcester.

Letisia Murungyi hopes to return to her job at Global Health Uganda, where she worked with children suffering from Cerebral Malaria, after a year in the UK gaining an MSc in Applied Psychology. She will graduate in November with a Merit.

With a greater knowledge and understanding, Letisia is hoping to help those children to better deal with the psychological impacts of living with the disease.


“The Masters has been transformational for me both professionally and personally,” she said. “I feel that I can go back to Uganda and make a real difference to the lives of the children I have worked with before and ultimately to broaden my work to other areas.”


Twenty-six-year-old Letisia, from Kampala, completed her undergraduate degree in Community Psychology in Uganda before successfully applying for a place at the University of Worcester through the Commonwealth Scholarship scheme.


“My ambition has always been to work with children as a psychologist, but child psychology is not very well recognised in Uganda,” she said. “So I looked further afield and found the course at Worcester, which also came recommended by a friend who had also studied here. I couldn’t believe it when I was accepted.”


“Back home, perceptions towards mental health for children are largely influenced by one’s social economic status, such that in most communities there is a very limited understanding of the extent of child mental health disorders/disabilities,” Letisia said. “As a result, if a child has a disability or any kind of disorder, it is deemed an unfortunate circumstance, a bad omen. Even where there is awareness, there still is a challenge in effectively addressing the issue due to limited resources, especially in terms of expertise. That is where I want to start; to be part of the solution, so as to make a tangible difference to the affected child’s life.”


She added: “The Masters really opened my eyes and showed me how naïve I was about children’s development, and that you cannot label children – they all develop differently and face different problems. It showed me that you have to take each case separately and assess on its merits.”


Letisia said the degree challenged her to think critically and to develop her own learning. “Coming to a new country with a different education system and a whole new way of learning was difficult, but it has been a fantastic experience and I got so much support. I have become a better person as a result; I am more open minded, and I can deal with situations more confidently.”


Dr Gabriela Misca, Course Leader of the MSc Applied Psychology, said: “Our Masters programme in Applied Psychology attracts high quality home, EU and international students and over the past two years we have had two Commonwealth scholarship students on our programme.


“We are immensely proud that our programme enables and empowers students to make a difference upon return to their home countries.”


She added: “The MSc Applied Psychology offers relevant and contemporary post-graduate training by providing research training and taught content in the applications of psychology across the life-span (from infancy to older adulthood), and in a variety of contexts (e.g. clinical, health, educational, forensic and counselling).”