By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
A BAHAMIAN student needs the public's help in seizing the opportunity of a lifetime as he pursues a double Master's degree in Public Health.
Charles Hamilton has started a Go Fund Me campaign to rally financial support from family, friends and anyone who believes in his cause. Charles needs to raise a total of £10,000 (approximately $12,700) in order to complete the second half of his programme.
Charles has been unable to secure local academic funding in scholarships to complete the Erasmus Mundu Europubhealth + Joint Master's Degree programme. His first year was funded by personal resources, family members as well as by corporate sponsorships.
Europubhealth + (EPH+), since its inception 10 years ago, has over 300 alumni from over 70 countries. EPH+ provides a unique opportunity for participants to obtain a double Master's degree in Public Health (delivered by six top European universities), while experiencing international mobility across the European continent and obtaining practical public health experience through a competitive work placement scheme.
Throughout his first year Charles excelled at his studies, achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.84.
While in Europe, Charles said he has significantly contributed to public health practice and raised awareness of the Bahamas internationally.
"My double master's degree pathway has taken me so far to the University of Sheffield - School of Health and Related Research in Sheffield, UK; École des hautes études en santé publique in Rennes, France, and the Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland, for specialisation in Governance of Health Systems in Transition (Public Health Policy/Administration and Health Economics)," he said.
As he was unable to receive local scholarships, Charles needs anyone willing to help him to act fast as his Go Fund Me campaign ends August 31. As of yesterday he had raised £6,410.
"I was humbled to be the Bahamas' first male and second student to participate in the programme, so I hit the ground running to not only excel academically but to also be a strong ambassador for the greatest little country in the world," he said.
Charles said the first year of the double Master's programme was not easy, but was one of the most rewarding of his life. He is looking forward to seeing what year two brings.
"I have applied for several scholarships in the Bahamas to support funding the second year of my studies. And although I had a stellar performance this academic year, I was not successful in obtaining one of the major awards that I hoped would prevent me from coming to the public for support," he said.
"I await word back from a Bahamas Government Scholarship, however, I recognise the financial difficulty that the country is currently facing and the amount of Bahamians competing for awards. Even if I am successful, I would still have a shortfall of some funding needed to complete the payment of my tuition."
Charles' family, while proud of his achievements so far, said they have done all they can to fund his education up to this point.
"I have always valued an education. Even more so as I have found my passion as a public health practitioner," said Charles. "Students and academic staff can tell you that the entire time I have been in Europe I have done nothing but raise the profile of the country in academic papers, presentations, discussions and debates. My passion is to serve this country, as it has provided me with so much. And our people need young and committed people to assist in national development.
To help Charles in his quest, visit www.gofundme.com/helpcharlesfinishgradschool.