Oxford hopeful celebrates reaching crowdfunding target

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INSPIRATION: Rachael Owhin with Oprah Winfrey during her year at Spelman

A LAW graduate who set up a crowdfunding campaign to cover part of the cost of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study a Masters at Oxford has said she is “overwhelmed” after reaching her target.

Rachael Owhin, 23, had only ten days to raise £10,000 but surpassed the milestone two days early on Friday, August 29.

One generous donor – who chose to remain anonymous – donated £1,000 stating he had been impressed by her positive attitude.

The successful drive means Rachael, from northwest London, can now prove to university administrators that she has the full £18,100 needed to cover the cost of the course in migration studies.

Rachael told The Voice: “It has just started to sink in, but it’s just amazing. I’m overwhelmed that my friends and strangers, people who don’t even know me, have supported me in this way.

“I really agonised over whether or not to do the crowdfunding campaign because I’m normally a very private person. It’s hard to ask for money and I have worked as long as I have had an NI (National Insurance) card.

“This experience has taught me to trust your instincts. I’m a Christian, and I believe that you have to have faith and God will steer you in the right direction.”

Rachael, who originally dreamed of becoming a human rights lawyer, now wants to pursue a career in academia especially after learning that 15,905 of Britain’s professors are white and only 85 are black. Of that figure, only 15 are black women.

The University of Sussex graduate said: “On the second day, I started to get so many negative comments especially from other black people which really took me by surprise. I broke down in tears. I had to really question myself and ask if I was doing the right thing. Then I thought, ‘I’m not forcing people to give me money’. I’m just asking people to support my dream if they want to.”

With fierce competition from other students and tough economic times, Rachael said she had to take matters into her own hands after missing out on an Oxford scholarship and help from traditional lenders.

The hardworking young lady – who spent a year studying at prestigious Spelman College in the US – had already saved £6,000 and also took out an £8,000 loan, which will only cover living costs. She has also received help from her supportive family.

Rachael, who has done work placements at Capitol Hill in Washington DC to the Houses of Parliament, added: “Today I realised that I’m no longer going to Oxford alone. I’m taking the 197 people who supported me along with me.

“I know there will be days when this course will be challenging, but I know I can remember this day and think of all those who helped me on this journey and want me to succeed. Rather than seeing it as a pressure, it is really a comfort to know there are so many people behind you.”

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