Help Raphael Chinwuko

Raphael Chinwuko

Help Raphael finish law school by sharing his story, or by donating on his Go Fund Me page

Raphael Chinwuko’s story is no news, yet it deserves to be shared once again. For those who don’t know, Raphael is a Hild Bede second year law student from Nigeria. The scholarship he was originally awarded by a private organization never came through and Raphael, despite working tirelessly (while also maintaining an excellent academic performance), is unable to pay his international fees. As a consequence, Raphael has been withdrawn from university and faces repatriation, unless his fees are paid in full by 21st July 2018 (more details at Go Fund Me).

Raphael is an outstanding student and a lovely person, always described as “genuine”, “kind”, and “committed”. In a perfect storm, all the circumstances are against this good guy, who “chose to study law to defend the rights of the underserved”. His fees are ungodly high, he’s not eligible for student finance, his mum cannot provide for him to such an extent, and he can only work a limited amount of hours due to his international student status. This very much sucks. On the bright side, we can help and we definitely should.

Solidarity of fellow Durham students and contributors from across the UK has already worked wonders and more than £21,000 (out of the £27,000 needed) have been raised towards his cause, but the campaign has now reached a treacherous plateau phase. At this point, abandoning him at £6000 from the finish line and disregarding the efforts of hundreds of well-meaning people is quite simply unacceptable.

Durham is currently home to 18,031 students. Donating takes only a few minutes, while sharing his story takes no time. If just a third of the student body donated £1 each, Raphael would be able to finish law school. In other words, we are a few minutes away from an easy win. Can we really let this slip into tragedy due to sloth and apathy?

I have always been a fervent advocate of the Durham “bubble”, an affectionate and slightly condescending way to call our small student community. Others are not fans of this claustrophobic redundancy and do have a point: same old young people, same exasperating hills, ducklings, signet rings, Klute on Friday night, Flat White on Sunday morning, the DSU president furious at a Uni’s decision. This, every week, for eight weeks, till the break.

But “small” also means safe. “Boring” means familiar. “Cliquey” can hopefully mean supportive. Students who have chosen to love this community and believe in its potential would like to think that help will always be given at Durham to those who ask for it (Dumbledore, for one, wouldn’t let this happen). Much has been done, but more is left to do.

If the Durham bubble has some worth at all, we should come together once more to finish what we have started and help a guy who’s clearly clever, hard-working, and deserving. I don’t know him personally, nor it should matter: he’s one of us. If we leave him behind now that he’s so close to meet his target, it means that our bubble is utterly useless and deserves to be burst.


Help Raphael finish law school by sharing his story, or by donating on his Go Fund Me page

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