By Clara Gaspar
Raphael Chinwuko, a former International student at Durham University at risk of deportation, has successfully raised the £27,000 that he needed to pay off university debts and continue reading Law.
Raphael, studying abroad from Nigeria, had been told he was to be granted a full academic scholarship by a private organisation that would cover the £14,000 annual costs of his study in the UK.
However, after finishing his first year, the University had not received payment from the organisation. Raphael was subsequently informed that his scholarship had fallen through. Raphael told Palatinate his sponsors ran into financial difficulty and were unable to offer continued support for his studies.
To cover the costs of studying at Durham, Raphael worked in a pub, at the same time volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau and maintaining a strong academic performance, achieving upper second-class honours for his first year of study.
Raphael was forced to withdraw from his studies on the 14th February 2018 due to his £27,000 worth of debt. Consequently, as a withdrawn student, he was left ineligible to apply for college grants or the University’s Student Hardship Fund.
As a result of not being in education, Chinwuko was threatened with repatriation by the Home Office on the 21st of July.
Chinwuko’s story was shared widely on social media and his Go Fund Me page attracted support from students, friends and the wider Durham community.
Jai Khajuria, a fellow Durham University law student previously told Palatinate: “He is well known as one of the nicest people in the law school, and consistently achieved top marks.
“His first year grades were easily in the top 20% of the law school and he’s worked hard to show that he deserves to be here and it’s sad to see that the university has failed to find him an alternative.”
Durham students have been working to raise funds since the Chinwuko shared his story on Gofundme. A “Raver’s without borders” event night at Alington House raised over £1,000 towards the cause.
In a post on Facebook, Raphael wrote:
“I’m genuinely not even sure what to write right now! That’s how excited I am. I don’t know whether to cry or jump. I guess I’ll just do both. Thank you so much everyone, for the love and support so far! It’s been an incredible journey and I couldn’t have done it without all of you.
“In the meantime, please any further donations are very welcome as I’ll put them towards financing my final year at Durham University. So I’ll leave the campaign open for the time being.
“Now I can focus on studying for and acing my exams!”