Saturday 22 July 2017

Mother in Direct Provision 'relieved' as DCU scholarship will pay €13,000 fees for daughter's first year

Nicole’s mother Thandi (pictured) learned that her daughter has been awarded a scholarship.
Nicole’s mother Thandi (pictured) learned that her daughter has been awarded a scholarship.
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

A girl who has been living in Direct Provision for almost five years has received a scholarship to study in DCU.

Nicole finished her Leaving Certificate two years ago and accepted a place to study Computer Applications in DCU this year. She received the news today that her first year of fees will be fully covered by a DCU scholarship.

The news came as a huge relief for Nicole after she learned yesterday that she would have to pay €13,000 per year as she did not qualify for the EU rate of fees.

“Yesterday was like a nightmare but today it’s a different story – we are just so happy and grateful,” Nicole’s mother Thandi told independent.ie. “DCU have been so kind to us the whole time. Unfortunately the scholarship is only for the year but we are hopeful we can find more funding next year.”

Nicole started classes on Monday; she says the course in DCU is tough, but she hopes they will find a way for her to continue. “It’s a relief to be doing something again. It’s tough after two years out of education but anything is doable if you try.”

Thandi and Nicole have both spoken about the terrible conditions in Direct Provision, the closest thing they have to a home in Ireland. “What you get depends on people’s mood,” Nicole said. “Children can be treated terribly – there’s no understanding when they misbehave that they are just being children.”

Thandi and her family are in the process of appealing a deportation order and fighting for refugee status. The deportation was stalled for her children, but Thandi’s is still being appealed. Her younger daughter is just 14 years old and will sit her Junior Cert exams this year.

Students in Direct Provision must meet very specific requirements to qualify for state funding for third-level education. They have to be in the Irish education system for at least five years and cannot be at the deportation stage. Thandi says there are many more parents whose children don’t qualify under these rules.

“Nicole is just one of many young people here who have had problems accessing education and it is very sad. I don’t want any mother to go through what I have gone through.”

Independent.ie has contacted DCU for comment.

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