Asylum seeker in Waterford seeks €3,000 in public backing for university studies

Manzi Joseph from Rwanda has set up GoFundMe page to raise money for college fees

 

A student living in direct provision in Waterford has made an online appeal for money so he can continue his university studies.

Manzi Joseph, who lives in a hostel in Tramore, Co Waterford, set up a Go Fund Me page this week, hoping to raise the €3,000 needed to cover the cost of his second year at university.

Mr Joseph was 18 when he arrived in Ireland as a Rwandan asylum seeker. He came from Malawi where he had lived with his parents and four younger siblings in a refugee camp since he was seven.

Mr Joseph planned to continue his education in Ireland but was unaware of the high cost of studying at third level as an asylum seeker.

After taking classes to improve his English and completing an ECDL course, Mr Joseph studied a Level 5 course in information technology at St Paul’s Community College in Waterford.

Last year he was offered a place on the Internet of Things degree course at Waterford Institute of Technology.

As he is not eligible for State funding to cover the costs of the degree, Mr Joseph set up a Go Fund Me page to raise the money for his studies.

“I have now completed my first year and I want to say a big “Thank You” to the people who donated and motivated me to work hard in college,” he wrote on the Go Fund Me page. “I worked hard and managed to achieve an average of 78 per cent in all 12 modules across my first year. I now find myself in the situation that I was in last year, trying to fund my tuition fee.”

Mr Joseph says he requested a transfer to UCD after he learned that they offer scholarships to asylum seekers but was unsuccessful as he had not sat the Leaving Cert.

“I would greatly appreciate if you could consider my application for supports. Your support would enable me to continue my dream in Ireland. It would also ensure my years in Ireland as an Asylum Seeker are put to great use.”

Under current legislation asylum seekers are not entitled to free third level education. School leavers who have been in the system for five years and meet certain criteria are allowed to apply for a grant to continue their studies under the Pilot Support Scheme.

Despite the struggle of meeting his education costs, Mr Joseph told The Irish Times last year that coming to Ireland was like “reaching a dream”.

“The life here is different, people treat you better, and the living standards are okay,” he said. “It’s protected, and I’m safe. I think if I study hard I can get what I want and live the life that I want to live. Live a good life. On top of that, I want to support my family who are still back there.”