Lulu Jemimah, the Ugandan female student at Oxford University in London who recently made headlines after getting married to her own self has managed to raise over £4,000 for her tuition fees in just a week.
The 32-year-old Masters student of creative writing at Oxford, faced with growing pressure from her parents to get a man, settle and have kids, decided to get married – but to herself. On her 32nd birthday in August this year while in Uganda, she arranged a low-key ceremony where she ‘got married’.
She says she only spent £2.6 (about Shs 13,000). The rest of the services and costs were footed by her peers who supported her rather strange idea.
“My father wrote my wedding speech when I turned 16. Every birthday, my mother prays for me and in recent years this has included a plea for a good husband. Someone to take care of me. I decided to put them all at ease,” Lulu says.
“I got married on my 32nd birthday to the one person I am certain will take care of me”.
Last year, Lulu applied to three UK universities, was admitted but without funding. Then she applied and was accepted into the two-year Masters in Creative Writing program at Oxford.
“I could not believe that they had chosen me. I still can’t believe it,” she says.
But her admission wasn’t the only thing she had to worry about. She needed over £20,000 (Shs 100 million) for her tuition.
With no chance of raising such a humongous amount of money, she began to look for scholarships, grants and even contacted embassies and government bodies.
“I considered taking out a loan but was told, as an international student, I was not eligible. I decided to do one of the scariest things. I turned to the public for help,” she says.
Lulu was able from the generosity of 279 people (many friends, most strangers) to secure the first year’s tuition. Now, with one more year to go, she requires £10,194 (Shs 50 million) and is banking on generous hands to acquire this money.
“I must apply for visas every six months and with each chance I risk getting turned down on grounds of financial inability”.
It is this need coupled with her endearing passion for creative writing that led her to open a GoFundMe online campaign, to solicit for financial support.
And in the eight days that the campaign has been running, Lulu has already raised a sum of £4,497 (Shs 22.4 million) which is 44% of the money she seeks.
“I am humbled. I am grateful,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page, in appreciation of those who made donations.
“This is all the push I need to make this worthwhile. I have read (and privately responded) to all your lovely messages. I will be sending out more personalised thank you notes,” Lulu adds.
She says that writing is how she make sense of the world, which explains her commitment to completing her Masters Degree.
“This is my love and commitment”.
Studying at Oxford, she says, is a rare opportunity to train with some of the best tutors and students. There, she is part of a unique writing community which she believes she can continue to draw from professionally for years to come.
Several people have been pouring their support for Lulu on the crowdfunding platform and encouraging her to push on.
“You are such an inspiration, Lulu. I have donated and shared this post. I hope your Oxford writing dream comes true,” wrote Deirdre.
Rose Crawford also wrote; “I feel this young lady genuinely wants to succeed. Plus, out of many, she was chosen”.
Stephanie Betzenbichler said that the fight for one’s dreams is always tedious, but that everyone deserves the opportunity to flourish their capabilities.
“I love your story! And I am a huge fighter for education…… I love that you want to pursue a career in creative writing! That is such a powerful tool! You can change the world with that! For now good luck in your second year! I am sure you will rock it,” said Stella Romana Airoldi, who also promised to share Lulu’s campaign on her Facebook.
One person gave as much as £1,000 (Shs 5 million) in donation while others contributed £200, a couple others £100 and several more gave as much as £50. The Shs 22.4 million so far raised came from 82 people.