Raphael Chinwuko, 23
School: University of Durham
Course: Law (LLB)
During his second year, Raphael had his place at Durham withdrawn after his sponsorship from a reputable private organisation suddenly fell through. As a result he was now personally in debt to the university – and as an added consequence, he also ran the risk of being deported. The fact that he had no immediate family in the UK made it an even more scary and lonely time for him.
With the prospect of getting his degree slipping through his fingers, as a last resort, he started a GoFundMe account. Astonishingly, he managed to raise more than £27,000 in less than a month. But by the time he raised the money, he had missed the bulk of his lectures, and had to reapply for his visa. Instead of sitting around waiting for this process to play out, he independently completed the course material for his second year and sat his exams at the British Council in Nigeria – scoring 2:1 and First Class marks. “Essentially I had to teach myself second-year Law,” he says.
He graduated from university this year and “still gets messages to this day from people who were inspired by my story”.