Hello, everyone! My name is Macke and I'm from Singapore. This is my story:
I've started this campaign to give Feza, my best friend of over ten years a reason to continue living. Feza has an endometrial condition – which, if unmanaged, can lead to cancer – and has also been diagnosed with depression. She has previously seeked professional treatment for both conditions, but unfortunately there has not been much success and she has, very sadly, attempted to end her life a number of times. Having known her for over a decade, she is a very talented and successful woman with a lot of drive and passion. Unfortunately, if you are familiar with how depression works, being successful sometimes isn't enough reason to make you want to continue living, and sometimes therapy and medical help doesn't always work.
One of the things that has worked in alleviating Feza's depression is her involvement in theatre work. She has directed and performed locally and internationally and has won international awards for her research work. Again, if you are familiar with how depression works, it is very difficult to find interest in a lot of things, so it is a miracle that being in the theatre is something that keeps her going. Unfortunately, theatre projects come and go, and without theatre work to do, she often buries herself back in a pit.
At the end of last year Feza was offered a place to do a Masters in Theatre Practice at The National Theatre School of Ireland, The Gaiety School of Acting. She initially intended to fund her studies with her full time job doing digital marketing, but towards the end of last year she became too ill and had to leave her job to focus on her health. This is not the first time she has encountered financial problems as a result of her health. She previously had to give up a lot of opportunities because she needed the money for treatment and medicine for her endometrial condition. Now, without a job, she would not be able to afford going abroad to study, and it doesn't help that she came from a low-income family who, while very supportive of her goals, are unable to finance her. Furthermore, in Singapore, overseas education funding opportunities are limited to the science and engineering sectors, and international scholarships in the arts only cover a small percentage of required fees. As a result of the circumstances, Feza had to give up her place in the course. The disappointment, on top of everything else I can't imagine she has to face on a daily basis as a result of her health conditions, became too much and she was referred to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) after a failed attempt to end her life.
Now, just last month Feza was offered a place to do a Masters in Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Central is one of the best theatre schools in the world and is alma mater to big names such as Carrie Fisher, Andrew Garfield, and Martin Freeman. As her best friend, I want to see her achieve her dreams of continuing her studies – what more at a renowned and highly established institution – and find a reason to keep going, even if it's only for a year. Furthermore, I certainly do not want myself or her loved ones to go through once more the heartbreak and pain we faced when we got a call from the hospital telling us she attempted to end her life because she no longer has a reason to live. Financial problems shouldn't be a reason to stop someone from living her dreams, and it certainly shouldn't be a reason to stop someone from having a reason to stay alive. I, however, am only one person, and could only do so much to help. This is where I hope you would come in and assist her in raising a portion of the money needed to fund her studies in London.
Here is the breakdown of the full costs needed:
Estimated tuition fees for international students - £18,000 (SGD 30,000)
Course-related expenses (as estimated by Central in the offer letter) - £1,000 (SGD 1,800)
Estimated fees for UK Tier-4 Student Visa, mandatory NHS healthcare surcharge, London police registration fees, and one-time return flights - £1,200 (SGD 2,200)
Total - £27,200 (SGD 50,000)
As you can see, that is a lot of money. We have spoken to the school and unfortunately they cannot defer her place in the course to give her more time to save up. We have looked at student loans as a possibility but unfortunately, with banks requiring a minimum salary to acquire a loan, and with none of her family members meeting that required minimum, it would be difficult to get one. I hope to personally assist her there, but unfortunately the student loan would only cover tuition fees. Feza has some savings set aside to cover the travel-related costs, and she hopes to get a new job and save up some money to cover the rest of the costs, but with her state of physical and mental health she will not be able to work full-time, and she may not save enough in time. I hope, with your help, we can help her raise at least a portion of the money needed to cover some of her expenses so that she will not miss this chance.
Why you should donate:
- You're giving a woman who is ill and near-suicidal a reason to live. Yes, with any other illness you need professional medical help, but that takes a lot of strength to do, and as I mentioned previously it doesn't always work for everyone. It would help significantly if we start at a place we know would help her, and work our way towards recovery from there.
- You're helping a low income family relieve a huge financial burden. By helping Feza fund her studies, it will take a lot of financial load and pressure off her family's shoulders. The money her family could save can be set aside for emergencies. Furthermore, the money Fezacould potentially earn as a Masters degree holder when she returns from her studies could help the family financially in the long-run.
- You're helping many others in the future. Feza is committed to creating theatre work that features real voices from real people. She has always wanted to promote mental health awareness through theatre and by helping her continue studies, she would be one step closer to achieving that goal on an international level.
- You're grooming a potential leader in the arts in Singapore. As I mentioned previously, Singapore has a lack of overseas education funding opportunities for the arts. Your money will go into sending someone with leadership potential to an internationally renowned school attended by some of the biggest names in the industry.
How we will thank you for your contributions:
We hope to provide some rewards to our generous contributors. By contributing, you will get a personalized postcard all the way from London (once and if she gets there) as a thank you. Feza also plans to credit all her contributors on her website and all her public school-related productions. She also hopes to get all her contributors exclusive invites to attend previews of her future shows free-of-charge.
I am very grateful if you got this far through the story, and thank you for any amount – big or small – you contribute in helping us reach our goal.