Rui Da Silva is trying to give back to his mother who gave him so much.
The 23-year-old moved with his parents to the UK in the late 1990s.
Hailing from the Portuguese-speaking African island nation of Sao Tome, Da Silva’s mother, Elnete, went to Portugal to work and study dental nursing. Unfortunately, tragedy forced the young mother to cut her studies short.
Now, Rui is trying to assist his mum in getting back into school with the help of a GoFundMe campaign. On the campaign website, Da Silva explains why his mother had to stop her studies nearly two decades ago.
“Sadly, in 2000, my father died. Leaving my mum with a 5yr old me and my 1yr old sister,” he wrote. “She had to leave her studies behind, to [make up] for my father’s missing contributions.”
Now that Ms. Da Silva’s children are old enough to care for themselves, she’s ready to study again. She may be pursuing a different course of study, “but the passion is the same,” writes her son.
“The passion for learning, studying, and exploring an identity that transcends the trope of a black single mother, working a 9-5 to pay the bills.”
This young man knows that his mother is capable of great things.
Fortunately, Ms. Da Silva has an opportunity to study culinary arts at the University of West London beginning this fall.
“My mum has been cooking for most of her life and she’s always wanted to study,” Da Silva told BuzzFeed News. “Coming from West Africa, formal education is of a certain importance. But since coming to England, as a single mother, the opportunity to study has been out of reach.”
Now, Ms. Da Silva has one last hurdle to clear before she can formally begin her university education: She needs her level 2 NVQ, a vocational qualifying exam somewhat similar to a high school diploma or GED. Unfortunately, 20 years of experience in personal and professional kitchens isn’t the same as passing this exam.
Mr. Da Silva recently learned that his mother “is not eligible for financial support from any government body to study an NVQ,” he wrote on the GoFundMe page. “This was especially disappointing for her. However, I reassured her that the opportunity wasn’t dead in the water. So the plan is to simply crowdfund all the necessary funds to get her NVQ.”
Less than a week after creating the crowdfunding request, Da Silva surpassed his £2,000 goal, so now, “Anything left is a cushion.”
This opportunity for Ms. Da Silva to return to her studies after a two-decade hiatus is more than a pathway to a degree.
“I think she’ll feel a sense of control over her life,” Mr. Da Silva told BuzzFeed. “Working for many years to pay the bills, at a workplace that doesn’t cater to her creativity. I think being in university would really fuel her to get creative and embrace her self-value as a capable individual.”
It looks like Ms. Da Silva is going back to school, and if she’s half as good of a student as she is a mother, we’re sure that she’ll do fine. Check out her crowdsourcing page here.