Friends, strangers and well-wishers,
Here’s a tale of one man, three
daughters and 2/3 of a Masters...it involves tears, tiaras and did I mention a
Masters? This is also an experiment of sorts. It would appear the women on this platform do extremely well with their fundraising so lets support one of the fellas this time round.
THE WRONG SIDE OF TOWN
My name is Nigel and I was born in Chapel Town, aka the wrong side of town, in Leeds. My mum decided to move us (my brother, sister and me) to London so we could pursue pastors new, find better paying jobs and avoid us from falling into gang-related activities. Later, we realised mum made the right choice: most of our friends applied themselves to a career in crime.
In London we lived in a council estate similar to any other deprived council estate in [insert name of underprivileged London borough here] and enjoyed our childhood. I vowed I’d go to university and make my mum and siblings proud. I achieved this when I completed an undergraduate degree at the University of North London (currently London Met) in Business Law.
Fast forward to 2012, I was working 7 days a week in two jobs (one job on Saturdays and Sundays in menswear) and suddenly realised there must be more to life! The John Lennon quote: "Life is what happens when you are busy making plans" seemed pertinent. I was already a father of two beautiful young daughters—Sanai and Chloe—but had recently lost my father. Although I had always liked fashion and was encouraged to seek a profession in that industry it was not the challenge I was seeking. I had set some funds set aside and after much deliberation I realised I would like to work as a diplomat for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
I had always put others before me and always offered my time to many
projects for free. Working as a diplomat would allow me to work for the good
of others whilst simultaneously exporting the values and norms we are
accustomed to here in the UK to countries near and far.
CHARITY, SWEET CHARITY
I have long believed in the mantra “Charity starts at home”. I often use my annual leave to attend volunteering roles for the likes of WaterAid—where I speak to children, and the odd diplomat about the importance of water and sanitation. Usually after a talk I write a press release requesting local media outlets to publish the story to highlight the good work of the school/organisation I have presented to. Here’s an example of an article which was triggered by my press release:
Not only have I volunteered for WaterAid (and continue to do so) I volunteer for Cubs and Beavers and read to children at the local nursery each Friday in my lunch break.
I am also the President of the Western Sahara Society at my university (@AFreeSahara). I have, on several occasions, met with Union, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Western Sahara as well as NGOs to raise greater awareness of the suffering of the Saharawi people. Here's my petition to stop Tesco's from selling Conflict Tomatoes: http://tinyurl.com/p5b2uh2
My sparse savings took a dent in 2012 with paying for Chloe to get through nursery (I forgot how expensive children are)! I took out a bank loan that year to help pay my course fees. In fact, to date I have personally paid over £11,000 onto my course. However, as seen from below I must complete the final payment of £2,431.50 to SOAS by 27th February 2015. Here’s what SOAS finance department wrote to me a few days ago:
I put forward the payment plan that I suggest keeping in mind with what you have said also:
Your total balance due: £2431.50
You will be paying £431.50 before the 30th of January 2015 and
You will be paying £2000.00 before the 27th of February 2015
Due to your circumstances, we can grant you an extension up until: the 27th of February 2015.
I have exhausted all other
options and do not wish to defer my studies. I work full time and raise my
three daughters (Nyala was born in 2014). I am not a career bureaucrat. I have worked continuously. My typical day starts at 06.20am and finishes around 1am. The reality is there are hardly any charities / organisations willing to assist a masters student. I do not want to defer my final term
of my final year to a later date. My daughters have missed having their dad
around: weekends to the park have been
replaced with weekends (alone) to the library.
260 people each donating £10.00 would certainly help me to achieve my target. However, any contribution large or small would help complete my MA and would be generously accepted. Here's the math:
£2431,50 to be paid to SOAS
£121.575 to be paid Paypal (they take between 3-5% from each donation)
THE MASTERS - WHY YOU SHOULD
MAY LIKE TO HELP ME
I am an underdog. I started from the bottom and now here (well now I’m at SOAS actually but you get my drift). I’ve experienced the harsh realities of life. I’ve raised my daughters whilst still working full time and studying. I'm 2/3 the way through my studies. But, before you decide to give a donation (or not) just think over these questions: Do you agree that far too many diplomats and representatives of the UK look the same, sound the same and went to the same schools? I’ll never be a member of the Bullingdon club!
The world is changing—diplomacy / the FCO has to change too. The same stalemates can’t be resolved with the same old strategies and the same old faces. I want my MA so I can bring a new perspective to the table. I look different. I think different. They are Amstrad and I’m Apple! They are Reebok Pump and I'm Nike Air Max! I didn't need a volunteering opportunity abroad to see how deprived people live; my friends and I are familiar with poverty and hardship.
If you are willing to help me there is an array of awards you can choose from. My girls support their dad in this mission and I support them by trying to obtain this qualification. Hence, this MA is just as much for my girls as it is for me! They are all obviously very happy to help with the rewards: Chloe is especially looking forward to singing “Let it go” in her Elsa dress and tiara.
SAY HELLO HERE
HELP ME SUCCEED