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Charles Hamilton meets tuition fundraising goal; preparing to head off to university

  • Charles Hamilton raises $8,800 tuition in two months through GoFundMe site, and he is making preparations to leave for the University of Sheffield the last week in August or first week in September to start classes on September 15. He is the second Bahamian to enroll in the Europubhealth European Public Health Master program — a two-year course in public health, delivered by six European universities, leading to a double master’s degree. He would be the second person from The Bahamas (and the first male) to matriculate through the program. Arvis Mortimer was the first in the program. CHARLES HAMILTON


Published: Jun 12, 2017

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Charles Hamilton is now moving full steam ahead toward enrolling in the Europubhealth European Public Health Master program — a two-year course in public health, delivered by six European universities, leading to a double master’s degree — after meeting his $8,800 crowdfunding goal.

Hamilton’s GoFundMe campaign was created on March 24. Via that platform, he started soliciting donations, and on March 26 he had 119 donations that helped him to meet his goal — two days shy of his May 31 deadline.

“I contacted the Europubhealth European Public Health Master to acquire wire transfer details to finalize tuition payment for this amazing public health opportunity, and I am ready to take it on,” he said.

Hamilton, who was accepted into the Erasmus Mundus Europubhealth program, will get to study at, at least two renowned schools of public health in Europe.

The dual master's program will mean he will study at the University of Sheffield School of Health and Related Research (United Kingdom) in his first year; the EHESP School of Public Health (Rennes, France), where he will participate in research modules between his first and second year, and where he will also defend a thesis at the end of his second year; and the Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland, for specialization in governance of health systems in transition.

Since its inception 10 years ago, the competitive program has had just over 250 alumni from over 70 countries who have participated in the course of study.

“I am grateful to those who shared, tagged and contributed to achieving this goal,” said Hamilton. “There were persons who donated publicly, others privately, and others with multiple donations. To all those persons, I owe a debt of gratitude and service towards my country.”

Hamilton would be the second person from The Bahamas (and the first male) to matriculate through the program. Arvis Mortimer was the first in the program. She, in turn, introduced Hamilton to the program two years ago, lighting the spark for Hamilton to seek entrance into the program, which he describes as an “amazing educational, cultural and network experience”.

Hamilton’s focus now shifts toward savings and seeking grants/loans towards his immigration and moving expenses to the United Kingdom (UK). To support his visa application he will require proof of approximately $12,000 for living expenses over nine months — the minimum required to apply for a UK Tier 4 student visa. The amount does not take into account the $600 he will need toward UK visa application costs; $1,200 toward air travel to the UK; $500 to $800 toward books and other educational expenses and $2,500 toward other incidentals.

To date he has secured $8,000 in pledges and donations toward his visa and immigration costs. His next immigration appointment will take place on July 4.

“I encourage anyone else, if they reached out to me in the past and still wanted to find a way to support my goals, to check out my GoFundMe link,” he said.

Additionally, if persons wish to donate outside of GoFundMe, they can deposit funds to Scotiabank’s Wulff Road branch, account #004002512, or RBC Royal Bank main branch, account #7502735; both accounts are held in the name of Nikita Charles Hamilton. These funds will go toward closing the gap for visa and immigration costs.

“I've reached this far and I have no intention of turning back. I plan to leave for the University of Sheffield the last week in August or first week in September to start classes on September 15,” said Hamilton.

Since he set up his education crowdfunding page he said people have approached him en masse seeking advice as to how to go about creatively finding higher education for their family members. He said he was humbled people sought his advice and that they believed in him to support his endeavor.

“I feel humbled, honored and ecstatic that I was able to reach this tuition fundraising goal. It shows that many people placed their faith and believed in me to support me in this program and invest in the future of The Bahamas,” he said.

Hamilton was the first person in his family to achieve an undergraduate education and is now seeking to earn a master’s of public health.

Hamilton’s passion and dedication for public health goes back further than university. At St. Andrew’s School, where he received a full student scholarship nearly a decade ago, he and a friend planned a school-wide HIV/AIDS fundraiser as 16 and 17-year-olds. Prior to attending St. Andrew’s School, he was the top student to graduate from H.O. Nash Junior School.

He graduated from the University of Guelph with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences, with honors, 2014.

Hamilton was able to complete his studies with government scholarships, as a national scholar and an RBC Royal Bank Canadian Lyford Cay Academic Merit Scholar.

He used his course of study to focus on science and health communication, but also spent a significant time in leadership positions on campus, eventually being elected to an executive position in the student union, where he had oversight of a $1.7 million budget and 50-plus staff, board members and volunteers. He chaired and coordinated a health and dental benefits package and coordinated the internal and external student union’s communication strategy. He also worked to lobby and address equity issues, including health issues with marginalized groups.

Hamilton was the youngest person hired at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Bahamas and Turks and Caicos country office to immediately transition from an intern to consultant.

 

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