London-based businesswoman who studied for an Open University degree whilst homeless is set to feature in front of millions in a docuseries with the OU and MTV Generation Change for her uplifting work with the community.
Lea Gibson is one of three OU students to feature in the series – the second series of its kind – that meets people who are not only changing their futures but are busy tackling global issues related to equality, health or the environment.
MTV depicts how her degree was tool for change
In Lea’s episode, which goes lives on 1 June, radio and podcast presenter and host of the series Henrie Kwushue interviews her about her life-changing degree, a BA (Hons) Combined Social Sciences, and how it gave her the tools to create change in her community.
Lea combined her life experiences with her Open University qualifications to launch a business that provides support and wellbeing services for those in need.
“I want to make sure that people never feel alone and they have someone to talk to,” said Lea, 31. “That’s what I needed when I was younger.”
Lea’s passion for helping others stems from her own challenges growing up: “I grew up in quite a turbulent household and experienced lots of challenges as a young person. I wanted to help people, so I started my organisation called Anthro Vision,” she explained.
Business is about unity in the community
She built her business from the ground up and says it’s about making sure those who are invisible are made visible again. It provides wellbeing workshops, homeless outreach and mentoring services.
And during the pandemic she launched ‘People with Periods’, an inclusive initiative to combat period poverty in her local area, delivering free wellbeing care packages for those in need.
“We just want to make sure there’s unity in the community,” said Lea. “That there’s always someone there to support those who need it. I’m trying to show that people aren’t alone, as I know what that feels like.”
Lea was homeless when she enrolled in her degree and said: “I wouldn’t have been able to see my potential without the backing of the OU. The OU literally changed the way my life is.
Take the opportunity to try something new
“My tutors were absolutely amazing. They would give me tips and tricks about how to study and make sure I had the resources I needed. The OU student community was also fantastic.
“My advice to anyone thinking about studying with the OU is just do it, give yourself the opportunity to try something new. You are capable of more than you think.”
She went on to complete her Master’s in Psychology with the OU in 2020.
“Everything I learned from my two qualifications enabled me to learn techniques, skills and theory to put into practice in the real world,” she said.
“The Open University built my confidence a lot and essentially gave me the skills that I need now. It also gave me a boost when I was previously applying for jobs. Open University degrees are world recognised. So any employment I’ve been in, the employers think it’s amazing.”
You can see Lea in Generation Change: Ones to Watch from 1 June.