Crawford’s passion for biblical studies spurred her to choose theology and she sees the degree as an approach to upgrade and prepare herself to be increasingly viable in her social work.
‘Social work is not just a career – it involves the most rewarding and fulfilling work,’ said Crawford. ‘It’s equally fulfilling to see families reunited and individuals restored for the ultimate goal is to work towards a co-existing society that not only combats social ills but abolishes them completely.’
The holder of a scholarship from the Lutheran World Federation, Crawford excelled academically at UKZN, receiving merit certificates for her work.
‘Being a single mother, my children were my biggest supporters and loudest cheerleaders. My friends also supported me through my academic challenges and stuck with me,’ said Crawford. ‘Fortunately, I had very understanding people around me, even though at times I knew I was lacking and dropping the ball.’
Her son Joshua said: ‘Halala mama! Your hard work has finally paid off and I am so proud to have been through that long journey with you. Congratulations.’
One of Crawford’s students Ms Zakithi Thandeka Mndweni added: ‘We now celebrate the hard work that has led to this joyful occasion. It was never easy but Belinda never gave up. She is a shining star in my eyes.’
‘I am still speechless, and in awe at all the love, support and encouragement I received from friends, family and loved ones,’ said Crawford.
She believes UKZN is not just an institution but a place that truly inspires greatness and offers an opportunity to grow and maximise potential.
She has this advice for other students: ‘Please don’t buckle or give up. You may bend but never break! In some instances, transitioning maybe stressful, demotivating and discouraging, but press on – it’s all worth it in the end.’