Wednesday 06-01-2016 - 10:47
For one week NUS Vice Presidents Piers Telemacque and Shelly Asquith will be committing to veganism and taking a vow of silence respectively in an effort to raise funds for #SaveKelechi. Follow this daily blog to see how they’re getting on…
What is the #SaveKelechi campaign about?
Piers and Shelly are raising money for a cause that is close to their hearts: Kelechi Chioba, a student activist, who could be deported any day. She is in desperate need of funds to cover her legal fees so that she can challenge her asylum rejection.
Kelechi is currently placed in Home Office accommodation. Kelechi suffers from polio and mental health problems and is wheelchair bound. In Nigeria, she is regarded as a curse and a source of shame. She has suffered severe abuse at the hands of her family, including attempts to end her life.
Kelechi came to study in the UK, partly to escape abuse, having paid for her visa and fees herself through work. While here her disability has worsened, and having to cover the costs of the wheelchair herself, financial hardship meant she could not complete her course. This made it impossible to apply for extra leave when her student visa ran out.
You can read her full story here.
Piers and Shelly’s Diary:
Monday 4 January
Piers: Woke up to the smell of my mum cooking steak. While the rest of my family tucked in, my mouth was watering but I made some vegetable curry. It was actually alright. I made pasta for Isla (my daughter) for dinner too, and she liked it... but I'm not sure how long she - or I - will last without chicken! Like I said, Kelechi, I would only do this for you!
Shelly: I avoided circumstances where I would need to speak to people, but I forgot about the small exchanges we make without thinking. For example, saying 'sorry' when you knock someone on the tube, or 'thank you' to a cashier. The best tip I've had so far is to keep headphones in and smile...
We heard from Kelechi today which was great, and she is grateful for the donations so far and so are we. Do keep them coming as it's all for an important cause!
Tuesday 5 January
Piers: I've had some seconds of the curry and some fruit today, and I'm feeling like I'm losing my appetite a bit. I might even lose some weight at the end of this, who knows! Proper sad though because my mate has loads of Nando’s vouchers that run out this week and so I can't go and claim some free chicken. What are the chances?
People are posting stuff to my Facebook of vegan things they are eating, so thanks for all the recipe ideas guys! To all of you taking the p*ss though, you're not allowed to unless you donate!
Shelly: Today someone shared the campaign by describing me as 'the human megaphone from Essex', which I quite like. But I'm starting to feel quite lonely without any verbal communication... snapchat can only go so far! I've been making plans for the term ahead with the radio on, so it feels like there's someone in the room. It's okay to sing out loud?
Wednesday 6 January
Piers: Had to cook dinner for me and my mate. Cooked a coconut and vegetable tagine and couscous. Had too cook my mate's chicken separately, with different utensils and everything. Had to listen to that fine fine chicken sizzling away, smelling it, had too keep looking at it to check it was cooked properly. I even sat there and watched him eat it and stayed strong. Big thanks to Russell for sending my the vegan recipe.
Shelly: Still going... still silent. Now the week is well underway, I am starting to realise how important speaking really is. Today I managed to co-ordinate funding for transport to Saturday's demonstration without making a single phone call, it was tricky but it worked out! I'm feeling gutted though that I had to turn down a friend's birthday drinks last night (I wouldn't be much fun not talking!), happy birthday Yael - I'll make it up to you next week!
Thursday 7 January
Piers: Day four of the vegan challenge and I got Isla on it again (although she cheated and had some cheese - I didn't). If you haven't already, please donate some money to the #savekelechi fund to raise money for her legal fees to prevent her from being deported. We have raised loads but are still way off our target.
Shelly: No verbal communication with anyone has actually got me feeling pretty low. Anyone who's been following my silent 5am snapchat stories will know I've not been able to sleep, too. So I've been reading up on social exclusion and mental health, and found out that not talking can actually affect sleeping patterns. All that chat must tire us out... I'm learning as I go!
Sponsored Silence for #SaveKelechi
Have a watch of this video to find out why Shelly has given up speaking for a week to raise money for #SaveKelechi.Piers the chicken-lover has also gone vegan. Find out more about Kelechi's case and donate here: youcaring.com/piersandshelly #SaveKelechi
Posted by Save Kelechi on Thursday, 7 January 2016
Ways you can support Kelechi:
- Make a donation and help the campaign reach it’s £2,000 goal;
- Add a Twibbon to your social media account;
- Tweet your friends and family to drum up support using the hashtag #SaveKelechi
Whilst in the UK, despite disability and difficulty, Kelechi has worked and volunteered to better the lives of others – particularly in NUS’ Black Students’ Campaign.
Kelechi has done so much for the student movement - now it is time for the movement to repay that support.