British-born son of Rwandan refugees who fled genocide launches £66,000 crowdfunding bid for Cambridge University studies

Will Metcalfe
Dylan Kawende has launched a crowdfunding campaign in a bid to raise more than £66,000 to help fund a two-year law conversion course at Cambridge University

The son of two refugees who fled genocide in Rwanda for the UK has launched an ambitious crowdfunding campaign in a bid to fulfill his dream and study law at Cambridge University.

Dylan Kawende is hoping to read law with senior status, also known as a law conversion course, at Cambridge after receiving an offer of a place on the course set to begin in October.

However, conversion courses are not eligible for student loan funding meaning if the former Westminster Academy pupil wants to accept the place he’s got to raise more than £66,000 to help fund his studies over the next two years.

He has just under two months to hit the target so he can provide financial assurances to Cambridge or, he says, the offer will be withdrawn.

Here are Dylan's parents pictured shortly after they arrived in the UK from Rwanda in 1994.

He said: “From a young age, my parents inculcated in me the values of resilience and ambition.

“My father, who was offered a place at Cambridge University to read electrical engineering but did not have sufficient funds to accept the offer, fostered my intellectual appetite by encouraging me to read widely.

“He also ran a charity that taught non-natives IT skills, which consequently instilled into me a desire to pursue a career that had a moral purpose.

“My mother motivated me to develop my Christian faith and has always been a wellspring of inspiration, comfort and love.”

Dylan's parents have inspired his studies but he says he grew up in a low-income household so he has no chance of his parents funding his further studies.

Mr Kawende was one of around 17,000 applicants for the course and says he has applied to two scholarships, each worth £10,000, in a bid to help him achieve his dream.

After growing up in central London he secured a place at UCL to study history and philosophy of science, graduating this summer and his initial success has

He added: “Despite the numerous times that I was told that I wasn't fit for Oxbridge by a few unbelieving teachers and students (I can recall 4 occasions where this happened), I'm the first in my family to attend a Russell Group university as well as hold a Cambridge offer. Clearly, the naysayers were wrong!”

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He added: “I have until 31 July to provide financial guarantees to Cambridge otherwise my offer will be withdrawn.

“Please donate whatever you can. Every donation will receive a special thank you note.”

For more information, or to donate, click here.

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