A medical student who raised £24,000 to help fund her studies last year fears she might have to give up her degree as she is faced with uncertainty over funding her final year. Mazvita Manzai has been a medical student at Cardiff University since 2018 but, unless she is able to fundraise to pay her tuition fees, she may not be able to complete her degree.
Mazvita’s mother had been paying for her studies, as well as those of her other daughter, who is also studying medicine in Hungary. But the contract for Mazvita’s mother’s job ended in 2018 during upheaval in Zimbabwe. While Mazvita’s mother has since worked as a farmer, she is struggling to cover the tuition fees, and Mazvita is unable to get a job while on placement at a hospital and working long hours.
Shortly before Mazvita left to study, her mother’s contract ended after 25 years of working for her employer. “She was like, ‘Right, pick yourself up and dust yourself off’, and went into farming”, Mazvita said. “She would hire out her car, she would let out our house for people to stay in – just to keep her girls in school. She’s always instilled in us that, with education, you can go so far.”
Now in her fifth and final year, Mazvita is determined for all her hard work not to go to waste. “It was by hard work and grace that I’ve been able to come and study here,” Mazvita said, crediting her mother with the work ethic she has instilled in her daughters. However, Mazvita says the situation in Zimbabwe and economic difficulties have set her mother back, meaning she is struggling to continue to pay for her daughters’ fees.
The 23-year-old, whose fees are £35,000 a year, is set to graduate in summer 2023. After raising a whopping £24,000 in just six days in 2021, she has raised £13,322 (at the time of writing) of her £35,000 goal to fund her remaining tuition fees.
“The last fundraiser was miraculous,” she said. “I posted on GoFundMe on a Wednesday and the following Tuesday – six days later – we had £24,000.” While Mazvita posted videos to social media to raise awareness of her fundraiser, she credits her community with helping her reach her goal. She says her personal tutor has been practically helpful, being the first person to donate to both her fundraisers.
“It was really the community around me who shared those videos, shared my story, and believed in my story. Anyone can post videos and it not go far, but everyone around me shared it – and shared it every day. They inundated their own social media with my story,” she said.
Speaking of her successful fundraising campaign in 2021, Mazvita says she was surprised by the results. “There was an overpouring of support from the community, family and friends, people I don’t know,” she said. Eventually, however, Mazvita has found herself having to fundraise again to complete her final year.
“This year has been difficult because the situation in the world right now is difficult. Everyone is worried about money, this recession – there’s such financial uncertainty right now,” Mazvita said. “With the Ukrainian war, there’s so much happening that when I was looking to put this [the fundraiser] out there, I thought, ‘Is this incredibly inappropriate? Am I not reading the room and just being selfish?’
“But at the same time, if I don’t do this, I go home. This is not one of many options, this is the final option – this is it. I’m nine months away from a medical degree after four years of hard work. Do I go home now, or do I fight with everything I have and hope for the best?”
Mazvita, who is currently on placement in Swansea, says that she is “tentatively” hoping for the best, however, she adds that this is something she is having to think about on top of studying for her final exams, applying for jobs, and working. She says that her financial situation has left her feeling scared and overwhelmed this year.
“If I can’t raise the money, eventually, I go home,” Mazvita said. If she is unable to pay her fees after the university has extended the date by which she has to pay, she faces being de-registered, making her visa invalid. Mazvita’s visa conditions mean that without proof of her registration at a UK university she would have to return to Zimbabwe.
“Any help would be incredible, because my mum cannot afford this, really”, she said. “Now, I’m at the end. It feels so unfair and unjust that so close to the end this could all just be taken away from me.” Born and raised in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, Mazvita left for Cardiff in 2018.
“I was so pleasantly surprised. It’s such a student city, it’s so trendy. Having the Brecon Beacons, the beach – you have the benefits of being in the city while being able to get to the forest or the beach so easily,” Mazvita said of her time in Cardiff. She says that Cardiff Medical School has been one of the best ways for her to have learned her practice, sending her across Wales for placements and allowing her to get to know the Welsh population.
“I’ve really gotten to know Welsh people and their stories. It’s such a blessing to become part of the Welsh population and really relate with them,” she said.
“I’m at this point where I’m in fifth year and I’m so excited for this next step. Having this uncertainty makes what should be a really exciting year daunting and worrying,” she said. But Mazvita says she is grateful to those who have donated. “I’m really grateful to those who have invested in me, because they trust that I’ll actually be a good enough doctor that they want me to be a doctor.”
Source: Wales Online
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