A King’s International Development student is crowd-funding to get her parents to graduation

Due to political unrest and economical sanctions her parents can’t afford to go

Graduation is a really key time in any student’s life, you say goodbye to the toil and sweat from dissertation year and say hi to the even worse reality of the working world. You adorn the gown, smile and wish you had a sugar daddy to now pay off the debt, and get your diploma. It’s a fabulous day.

For third year International Development student Meli Alvarez, she’s had the time of her life studying and living in London, but her parents cannot afford to fly from Panama to watch her graduate. She has now started crowd-funding to enable the Alvarez family to attend her graduation, letting her parents feel pride to see the result of their hard work.

Due to the political state of affairs in Venezuela, the Alvarez family suffered from incredibly tight currency control exchange which the government controls, and functions as an intermediary between the foreign companies and the local companies. “Their company imported seeds for agriculture, they would give support to the farmers and also sell their seeds. Local companies paid the government the amount in the national company of the regulated exchange rate, and then the government pays to the foreign company in dollars.”

It seems very straightforward, but in 2011, the government never paid the foreign company involved in their trading, and the family was immediately hit with a debt of $300,000, government regulations and two consecutive years of loss. With 6 years to pay, the family have sold and tried everything to regain their financial situation, whilst affording tuition fees abroad for Meli to continue her studies.

“In January of 2017, our whole life saving were $12. We had no money to pay my fees, and no money or rent. In February they told me that they could not help me financially anymore and that they were too much in debt. I took 3 jobs but money still was not enough.”

“They have put all their efforts towards my education, they work 8 hours in a farm every single day and they are 66 and 61 years old. That’s why graduation day is so important for them and for me, it would be like a reward.”

The family moved to Panama to salvage their business but flights are still too expensive. With the crowd-funding they have raised £803 of the £2,000 goal, and help is needed.

To donate, please click here to help the Alvarez family in any way you can.

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