Rotate’s ‘Raver’s without Borders’ raises over £1,000 towards saving withdrawn Durham Lawyer’s third year place
Adding to Raphael Chinwuko’s £20,000 total so far
Organisers of last week's "Raver's without borders" night at Alington House have announced that the night successfully raised over £1,000 towards Raphael Chinwuko's cause.
Hild Bede second year Raphael, who was withdrawn from Durham due to his £27,000 worth of debt back in February had already successfully raised over £20,000 in a bid to secure a place for his final year.
Chinwuko's story has been shared widely in recent weeks via his Go Fund Me page, with students, friends and the wider Durham community all showing their support.
Described by one friend as "one of the most genuine and kind and lovely people", support from friends has been flooding across social media. Raphael has been described as "[throwing] himself completely into life at uni" and being "thoroughly deserving" of being able to finish his degree so as to go on and help other people.
Support such as this, as well as backing from Facebook page 'Legal Cheek' and Barrister Jolyon Maugham QC has seen support come in from across the UK.
Raphael, from Nigeria, originally started at Durham on the basis of receiving a scholarship from a private organisation promising to cover his international student fees.
By the end of his first year, however, it became apparent that this financial promise had not been fulfilled, leaving Raphael struggling to work to cover the £27,000 debt whilst continuing with his law degree.
In February, Raphael was withdrawn from his course by the University and told that he would not be allowed to sit his second year exams. Consequently, Raphael's student visa will expire on 21st July, and will force him to be repatriated back to Nigeria.
Although Raphael's mother "has worked, and is still working ceaselessly to raise what she can", as a single mother raising 3 children on a trader's income in Nigeria, Raphael explains on his Go Fund Me page how he initially worked hard to keep the financial troubles from her.
"As an international student, I am only allowed to work a set number of hours. I work part-time at a pub during term time and holidays and save every penny to pay my tuition," he explained.
On top of this part-time work and achieving impressive academic results, Raphael was also actively involved in the Citizens Advice Bureau as a trainee, highlighting the reason he says he applied to study Law in the first place.
"I chose to study law to defend the rights of the underserved, of which I am one. I’ve always believed that intellectual ability and not financial strength should be the key that unlocks opportunities for motivated people," he says, describing his situation as a "cruel twist of fate".
"I’m so very grateful to everyone that has supported me so far. It really has been overwhelming how much people care (both the ones I know and the ones I don’t). I wish I could individually thank everyone that has supported me".
Whilst support has been widespread and hugely positive amongst students, alumni and the wider Durham community, even if Raphael is able to raise and pay back the £27,000 owed, he has no guarantee of a third year place unless he can provide sufficient evidence of the financial means to fund his final year.
As a result, Raphael is still working hard to seek out further scholarships, grants or donations that would enable this financial security for his final year.
After the success of last week's Rotate event, the organisers have announced the final night of term will be free, and plan to collect donations to further support Raphael's deserving cause.
Show your support by sharing Raphael's story, or by donating on his Go Fund Me page.