Lerato Molekoa | WWF South Africa

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Lerato Molekoa intern

Lerato Molekoa

2019 Intern

Lerato Molekoa is passionate about inspiring young girls in her community. She encourages them not to follow the pattern of falling through the cracks of poverty, but to use their minds as forces of change, to build a bright future for themselves.

Following the same principle, Lerato wants to make a difference by playing a role in conserving South Africa’s biodiversity.

She holds a Master of Science degree in Biocontrol and Advanced Remote Sensing from Wits University.

We found out more about Lerato and her fascinating career:

What motivated your career choice?
The knowledge and enthusiasm I had for Geography and Life Science in high school inspired my career path. I strive to use the opportunity and ability that I have to change the way people view the environment, by educating my local community and others.
 
What do you hope to gain from the internship?
I aim to put all the theory I learnt at university over the past few years into practice. I also hope that my role at the South African National Biodiversity Institute in the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) programme will help me gain various skills – such as project management, data processing and capturing, community interactions and species identification.

In the long run I would like to be able to influence policy and decision making processes in our country.

What excites you the most about the internship?
As someone who was born and raised in Gauteng, it was exciting for me to relocate to KwaZulu-Natal. I look forward to experiencing a different working environment, culture and seeing the beautiful landscapes of this province.
 
But most importantly, I am excited to work with people who are as passionate about nature as I am. Going on field trips and spotting rare and threatened wild species would be the highlight of my year.
 
What do you think is the biggest environmental issue the world is facing right now?
The unsustainable use of natural resources such as water, plants and animals is the biggest problem facing us. For instance, the over-exploitation of aquatic species and cutting down of trees have led to the loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction and land degradation.

What contribution do you wish to make to the well-being of people and nature?
I wish to live a life that honours and appreciates the natural environment by recycling and reusing packaging material whenever possible. I also want to reduce my carbon footprint, and advocate for the sustainable use of resources like food, water and energy.

If you had a chance to change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would end the abuse of vulnerable women and children, being robbed of their right to live a just and peaceful life.
 
I would also make education accessible to everyone. I believe that education plays a huge role in improving the lives of our society.

Who do you admire the most and why?
I admire my mother, grandmother and older brother. They have had the greatest impact in my life.
 
My mother sacrificed her time to raise me and meet my needs, allowing me to shine bright and be the light of her life. My grandmother’s unapologetic presence and indigenous knowledge inspires me all the time.
 
My older brother, who continuously encourages me to further my education, is the reason that I am competing for the first place of Master of Science degree holder in my family.

What role do you think your generation could play in creating a better world for all?
We should become advocates and make strides in our respective professions – whether it is in business, medicine, social work, politics or science.

We must also strive to have a good reputation and attain success through hard work instead of scheming or cheating the system. By making small changes in our daily lives and connecting to the global community network, we can find solutions to the challenging questions asked today.

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