When he was young, Second Year National University of Singapore (NUS) student Gavin Lu had his left eye removed due to a tumour growth in the optic nerve. As a result, he experiences fatigue in the eyes and brain whenever he studies or reads. His disability affects his self-esteem. Despite this, Gavin was determined to pursue a university education and took on a study loan.
“I had to allay my parents’ fears regarding being the guarantors for my study loan. I had to convince them that I would be able to pay off the loan upon graduation,” Gavin says. Gavin is currently studying Communications and New Media under the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) programme.
Thankfully, the Yeshua Bursary has helped to alleviate some of Gavin’s worries. Set up by an NUS alumnus who also gave towards the establishment of three other bursaries in the memory of his grandfather and parents, the Bursary is awarded once a year to financially needy undergraduate students with disabilities. The name Yeshua is Hebrew and corresponds to the English name Jesus.
Gavin says, “The Yeshua Bursary has given me more time to focus on schoolwork rather than on travelling around to give tuition. I am also freed from having to worry about burdening my dad, who is the sole breadwinner in my family.
“I just thank God that I have been lent a helping hand that makes a difference in my life by empowering me to fulfil my dreams and beliefs.”
Gavin shares that while it has been tough balancing schoolwork and giving tuition, he feels fortunate to be able to study at NUS. “I am enjoying the facilities on campus and I have made many great friends here. I participated in NUS Open House earlier this year and look forward to more chances where I can tell people about the pros of studying in NUS,” he says.
Grateful for the generosity he received, Gavin hopes to pass on it on.
“The Bursary has reinforced my belief that people are definitely not evil by nature. I really understand how depressing it can get when you only have a few dollars in your bank account on top of the fear of performing badly in tests and examinations. The pressure can become really unbearable at times and if money can help, I would definitely give it away to make someone’s life much more breathable,” he says.
This year, in tribute to the 90th birthday of Singapore’s Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, NUS will dedicate gifts and pledges recorded by the University from 1 January to 31 December 2013, with the consent of our donors, to honour Mr Lee Kuan Yew. In addition, NUS has set up the Lee Kuan Yew Endowed Fund which will go towards bursaries for financially needy undergraduate students.