An aspiring lawyer has raised £10,000 in 10 days through a crowd-funding website to enable her to take up a place at Oxford University.
Rachael Owhin, 23, from Wembley, London, was offered a place at Wolfson College, Oxford, for an MSC in migration studies, but feared she might be unable to take it up after her application for a scholarship was turned down.
With two weeks before the £18,110 fees had to be paid she came up with the idea of crowd-funding. ‘I said to myself there is £10,000 standing between me and a place at Oxford University. I’m not going to not go.’
Using the website Hubbub, which allows individuals and organisations to crowd fund for educational and social projects without charging a fee, she raised over £10,000 in just eight days.
Owhin offered rewards depending on the amount they pledged. Those who gave £10 got a ‘shout out’ thanking them on social media site Twitter while those giving £20 get a handwritten postcard from Oxford thanking them.
For those who gave more, she offered to proof-read an article of up to 3,000 words, write an article, photograph an event or give an acknowledgment in her dissertation.
Anyone giving £1,000 or more was offered all of the above, plus an invitation to diner at her college. The largest donation she received was £1,002.
Owhin did A-levels at Sion-Manning RC Girls School in Ladbroke Grove, before taking an undergraduate law degree at the University of Sussex, graduating with a 2:1.
For the past year she has been doing a voluntary internship at the Scottish Parliament, receiving a small bursary from Christian charity CARE.
Through the Black Lawyers Directory Legal Launch Pad programme, which provides mentoring, networking, support and work experience to university students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, Owhin was mentored by barrister Hashi Mohamed, from No 5 Chambers.
‘He had done a masters at Oxford and when I met him I had just submitted my application. He was really helpful and gave me lots of moral support and advice,’ she said.
‘Debo [Nwauzu], the founder of the BLD and Tricia [Eghagha] have supported me through the campaign – encouraging me and donating and the BLD tweeted to help me raise the money,’ she said.
Owhin starts her masters course on 6 October and wants to be a barrister.
‘I interned every summer for four years at Clifford Chance, but realised the corporate/commercial work was not for me,’ she said.
She told the Gazette: ‘I really love the law; it’s the foundation of our society. At the Scottish Parliament I have also seen law being made. I have enjoyed both sides, but what I like is using the law to help change people’s lives.’