oxford-eddicated-3At the beginning of this term, Somerville was privileged to welcome a talented South African postgraduate student and disability rights activist, Edward Ndopu, to the College.

Due to his impressive academic record and work experience – he has spoken at the World Economic Forum (WEF) thrice,  was named as one of the best 30 thinkers under 30 by Pacific Standard Magazine and has launched his own non-profit organisation, Evolve Initiative, to close the access gap for people with disabilities all over the world – he was offered a full scholarship for a Masters in Public Policy from the Blavatnik School of Government and has been elected as President of the student body.

Being diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of two has added significant hurdles to Eddie’s life that he has persistently overcome. He requires 24 hour care, uses a wheelchair, and cannot survive without personal and medical support. His condition means that his living costs are far higher than those of an average student.

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Eddie with his friend, confidant and carer in South Africa, Tinno.

Eddie had wanted his own carer to accompany him in the UK and through his own fundraising efforts, and thanks to the generous support of Investec Asset Management, Eddie raised £22,000. The College did its best to support him in his visa application for the nurse however the application was turned down by the Home Office, which is why in part the bill for his care needs is rather more than he had expected. Additionally, under UK law, Eddie can only be lifted with a hoist, which needs two people to operate it, so the care costs have since doubled.

Somerville is supporting Eddie in every way we can – the College has purchased special equipment for his room which has been specially designed for his disabled needs, including his hoist and a hospital bed, to make his stay more comfortable. Somerville has also agreed to waive the accommodation costs for the two carers.

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Eddie speaking at the World Economic Forum

Eddie is now seeking to raise funds for his care costs through crowdfunding platform Generosity. He is asking for $92,500 (approximatley £72,640), to help pay for his physical therapy, care and rent.

He has also recently appeared in a news feature by Al Jazeera for the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

For more information, please visit Eddie’s crowdfunding page.

 

Further reading?

Dr Siddharth Arora joins the Oxford India Centre as Programme Director

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18 October 2021
Dr Siddharth Arora joins the Oxford India Centre as Programme Director

Professor Frances Stewart named Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

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Professor Frances Stewart named Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Remembering Somerville Co-Founder Henry Francis Pelham

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