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This is my love story.

£10,694 of £10,194 goal

Raised by 169 people in 2 months
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Created October 1, 2018
This is my love story.

I turned 32 recently and decided to get married. To myself.

I made the commitment to see this life through, at whatever cost.

Around this time last year, I was accepted into the University of Oxford.

This has been a great year but also one of the most difficult.

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I am a writer from Uganda working towards a career in research and academia. To do this, I need a masters degree, at the very least but no university in Uganda offers creative writing at graduate level.

Last year, I applied to three UK universities, was admitted but without funding. Then I applied and was accepted into the two-year Mst. in Creative Writing program at Oxford.

I could not believe that they had chosen me. I still can't believe it.

Despite all this, people ask me what my ‘plan’ is, when I plan to get married, have children and start a family.

They can’t imagine that what keeps me up at night is not the fear of never walking down the aisle.

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.

I got married on my 32nd birthday to the one person I am certain will take care of me.

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My wedding cost me $ 2.62 (transport to the venue.)

A friend hired the gown as a birthday present.

Another friend offered to do my makeup.

I borrowed my sister’s jewelry and my brother baked the cake.

I asked a few friends to show up at a local bar and cater for their individual bills.


Marriage is an expression of love and commitment. But for many people back home, it is still considered the only way to guarantee a woman's financial security. These are all things that I want.

The only difference is I am more confident about getting them from one of these two gowns:

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(Wedding gown)

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(Oxford's academic gown)

What keeps me up at night?

When I got into Oxford, I needed over 20.000 pounds for the tuition.

I looked 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.

From the generosity of 279 people (many friends, most strangers), I managed to secure the first year’s tuition.

I borrowed a suitcase from a friend, a warm jacket from my dad and all my sister’s ‘decent’ shoes but when I applied for the study visa to the UK, I was rejected. Determined, I paid extra for priority processing and put in a second application. That too was rejected . I returned the suitcase, cried into the jacket at the idea of losing my spot at Oxford.

This was like my magic carpet ride into the future. I was not about to give it up, so I sought legal counsel, put in a third application and was eventually granted a study visa to UK.

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(The first time I saw snow)

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Writing is how I make sense of the world.

This is my love and commitment.

This is a rare opportunity to train with some of the best tutors and students. I am part of a unique writing community which I can continue to draw from professionally for years to come.

I didn’t want to get greedy with the first crowdfunding and ask for two years of support, but…


This has been extremely difficult.


I must apply for visas every six months and with each chance I risk getting turned down on grounds of financial inability. I have one more year to go and I must come up with the remaining tuition and college fees of 10,194.00 pounds.

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I am about to start working on the biggest and most ambitious creative writing project I have ever done. Instead, I am worried about whether I will be able to complete it. 

The only kind of visa I can apply for with this course means that I must travel to the UK every three months. 

I am not allowed to work in the UK and yet must afford the course (on a Ugandan salary) and prove that I can support myself during those trips.  On two occasions, I slept in the college library because I could not afford a room and did not want to ask for help, yet again.

I am about to start my second year but finishing this degree is impossible without asking for YOUR help. 

I have come this far with the generosity of friends and strangers alike and I am asking one more time.

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Please help me stay in Oxford.


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 Lulu Jemimah
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No Longer Accepting Donations.

Imagine that! I never thought I would say this, but I am now going to turn off donations for the campaign.

I am incredibly fortunate. I thank you once again for your unwavering support.

Update on total amount raised £11.160.92

I still can’t believe that a private sponsor also offered to pay for all remaining flights in relation to the course.

This means that not only did we raise enough money to cover tuition, I do not have to worry about bank transfers, flights and my next visa application fees.

Lulu

P.S

Gofundme platform raised £10,694.

After their fees the total amount came to £10,341.42.

I also received offline donations after the Gofundme target was met. A total of £361.09 and ugx 728.200 (£150.83)


**One of the requirements of GoFundMe is to put a pound account if getting donations in GBP. This needed personal details that the university finance office was not willing to provide but a friend generously offered that I could use his account. You may have noticed his name on the main page. Once we have forwarded the money to the university I will share the receipt.


Thank you once again.
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wooooooooo hooooooooo

WE HAVE DONE IT

£10,194 of £10,194 raised.

Thank you for making this possible.

(I have attached a picture of me during one of the readings with classmates because why not.)


Thank you.
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What an amazing month!!!

£9,246 of £10,194 goal raised by 148 people in 1 month.

To think that not too long ago, I was worried about finishing my degree because I couldn’t afford to.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from an anonymous sponsor that read, “…my business would like to contribute somehow. At the moment, we are thinking of sponsoring your flights to and from UK. To my knowledge, there are three more trips for you to the UK and we are happy to pay the cost of these.”

More recently, two Ugandans (Bernard Mukasa and Siima Sabiti) decided to hold a mock wedding, which drew the attention of donors and support from Ugandans. The two generously contributed ALL proceedings to my go fund me campaign.

The total amount raised which includes donations from Britam Uganda and FlairforHer magazine was £1580.

This is on the page as part of the last anonymous donation of £1,808.

The story was covered by the BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-45990973

Photos from the event https://www.softpower.ug/pictorial-siima-sabiti-finally-gets-married-but-for-charity/

Those who made it possible https://twitter.com/kanyindo/status/1057563358747078662

I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has given directly, shared the post or even reached out with messages of encouragement.

Many saw and contributed to the crowdfunding page after someone else shared it.

If you can, please continue to share.

We are now a few 100 pounds shy of the target goal.

Unfortunately, fees are deducted off donations so rather than the £9,246 generously given, I get £8,940.68.
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Look at what YOU have done.

In just a week your generosity has amounted to £ 3648.
I am humbled. I am grateful.
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.
For everyone who shared the post, thank you.

Mwebale (thank you all),

Lulu Jemimah
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£10,694 of £10,194 goal

Raised by 169 people in 2 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created October 1, 2018
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