Gaining admission to Oxford University in the United Kingdom is no easy feat. Eddie Ngupo is a determined South African born activist who has ticked all the boxes, but still faces one more hurdle before he will become the first disabled African to study at this leading international institution.
His medical fees are holding him back from achieving his dream.
Ngupo was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of two and given five days to live. Spinal muscular atrophy is a disease that affects the spinal cord resulting to loss of muscle movements. He survived, but had to deal with a constant stream of prejudice as he grew up.
“Society told me and my family that being able-bodied was a precondition for access to education. My family had resigned themselves to the reality that I might never be accorded the right to an education or a normal life,” says Ngupo.
His mother faced high levels of intolerance as she went to knock door to door at primary schools in Windhoek to secure an education for her son.
“I was admitted into a primary school on the outskirts of town. It was a relatively under-resourced school, with very little to offer in terms of opportunity. But it was a school nonetheless,” he says.
Ngupo refused to accept the limiting box assigned to him by society and today, at the age of 25, he holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. This qualification has gained him admission to study to at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University.
“My admission into Oxford is a symbolic victory for millions of disabled youth across the globe. Me being able to defy the odds to make it there is even better,” says Ngupo.
A fund raising campaign has been put in place to raise $33 000 (R500 000) to cover disability related costs. Some of the costs that need to be covered are voice recognition software, a new automatic wheelchair, and medical costs related a personal nurse, Tinno Nene, who must accompany him for the entire duration of his studies.
To date the #Oxfordeddiecation campaign on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo Generosity has raised just over $1 500 (R21 987.50).
“We need an additional $31 500 to reach our goal of $33 000. Therefore we invite corporate South Africa to join the movement to make this thing happen,” says Ngupo.
People who want to donate can contact Lee Molefi on +27814844319.