Star student is granted the right to remain in Ireland
Asylum-seeker thanks anonymous donors who gave her €20,000 to continue her studies
Nadezda Prochukhan, who got 615 points in her Leaving Cert and is now studying at Trinity College
Nadezda (Nadia) Prochukhan (20) came to national attention in 2014 when she got 615 points in her Leaving Cert and donors enabled her to fulfil a dream to study chemistry .
Her case helped lead to a change last year when the minister for education announced that asylum seekers would be allowed third-level student grants.
Ms Prochukhan said she was “so grateful” to those who helped her . “People I never met donated money for me to attend my first year of college and that is why I’ve been able to get where I am today.”
Ms Prochukhan, her mother Tatiana and younger sister Maria were told recently that their application to remain in Ireland, submitted in September 2011, had been approved.
She feared that the family would have to survive through donations and her 78-year-old mother in Russia indefinitely.
“The letter said we have permission to stay in Ireland for three years so we are entitled to everything an Irish citizen is entitled to, apart from being able to vote. We can become Irish citizens in five years which would be amazing ,” Tatiana said.
She said her family has endured five years of suffering with the constant threat of deportation hanging over them.
“I have been fighting for my children’s lives. Often there was no bread on the table. All our money was stolen before we arrived here. We had to wait for the decision because the Government changed the law twice. We were another cog in the wheel.
“When we got the letter we were overjoyed. We were hugging each other. We have been through hell. We had no work permits and no means to make money. But we are strong and we remained positive and the people of New Ross and Ireland were amazing to us.”
Nadia is in the second year of her four-year course. The family is hopeful she will get a grant for her third and fourth years, as the EU student fees come to about €8,000 a year.
‘Never give up’
Reflecting on the last five years she said: “Never give up and don’t forget to thank the people who help you along the way.”