Imagine leaving your home in search of education, in the hopes of coming back to make life better for your family, but this hope is cut short barely three months into your study.
This is the story of a Nigerian student, Desmond Chinaza Muokwudo, who has had to flee Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.
30-year-old Desmond is one of about 16,000 African students estimated to have been living in Ukraine before Russia struck about a month ago. According to him, he spent nearly 11 years of his life, working and saving up for an education in Europe.
Desmond, narrating the effort he put into relocating to Europe said, ” Before I left Nigeria, I was an argon/pipeline welder by profession. I saved every bit, everything, all my salary, I saved everything. My parents had to sell our family land. The land was worth more but they had to sell it very cheap just for them to gather the money. We needed about $9,130 for my education in Europe.”
The young determined man, made it to Europe and specifically to Ukraine and after just three months in university, Russia invaded and Desmond Muokwudo had to immediately leave the country for safety. “The first night I slept at the train station. The second night I slept at the bus station, like on the floor. “
Since fleeing to safety, Desmond has made attempts to find schools in Europe that will admit him and help him complete his education, however, all efforts have proved futile thus far. Most of the schools either do not reach back to Desmond or have rather harsh demands to admit him.
Muokwondo is, therefore, appealing to governments all over the world to give black students who are currently stranded and yet desire to continue their education an opportunity to do so. “I need governments all over the world to give black students an opportunity not just Ukrainians. It has not been easy. I have sent close to 30 emails to various universities. Some will say they’re not helping students from third world countries, some say they will give you feedback and some just do not respond.
“The one university that called me from Germany said I have to have €10,000 in my account and I just do not know where to get such an amount of money from. I have sacrificed too much to get here. I have to stay in Europe, and I have to get an education”
Universities across the world have extended a helping hand to students fleeing Ukraine, in the form of guaranteed places, discounted tuition fees and relaxed visa requirements.