“It was the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.”
While Luqman Alhakim was studying Medicine in Egypt, his MARA loan could only cover his tuition fees.
Luqman had to find other sources of income simply to survive, while keeping up with typical Medical student stuff. You know, just simple things like describing in extreme detail 115 different human organs, their functions and possible diagnosis.
(I don’t know about you, but I can’t even name 20 organs…)
There were months where Luqman admits he thought he wouldn’t have enough to survive in Egypt. At one point, he was forced to sell his camera. Later on, he sold his laptop. After class, Luqman worked in the evenings at a Malay restaurant in town, serving food and helping out in the kitchen.
He pulled through – celebrating every small success, both inside and outside class. Looking back with deep emotion in his voice, Luqman describes 2016 as the year he “finally saw the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.”
An Opportunity He Couldn’t Resist
Luqman could almost taste the sweetness of finally graduating as a doctor. He knew he would be returning to Malaysia before long. That was when fate decided to offer him an opportunity he couldn’t resist.
Here’s how Luqman describes it:
“I was on a roll that year. I was making peace with my financial, emotional and personal struggles. I was focused on my goals. I was taking every opportunity that came.
That’s when this offer from the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA) came. It was a chance to go on exchange to Mexico – a country and region I might never have any other reason to go. I could see for myself how doctors there served their patients and meet students from all over the world.
I just had to find a way to pay for everything.”
Luqman tried everything. He tried approaching potential sponsors directly. He tried applying for zakat assistance. He didn’t get funds, but he “totally understood why.” Luqman tells me that he knew that there were so many other students whose needs were more urgent.
If he couldn’t raise the money to go on exchange, he would accept it as God’s plan. But first, he had to do everything in his capacity to try.
That was the moment Luqman heard about Skolafund. While talking with 4 of his fellow Malaysian medical students who had also been offered exchange opportunities, one of them suggested crowdfunding as a possible way to raise the money he needed.
“I cried a few times in those 30 days.”
After taking a look at the website and reading stories of other students in need, he decided to start a campaign to fund his exchange to Mexico. It was his last shot, and he had nothing to lose.
“What surprised me is that, for the most part, people are so positive! 2-3 people texted me personally and simply asked me, ‘How much do you need?’
I cried a few times in those 30 days. We always see “haters” on social media, but I never expected so many people to be this kind – even friends.”
Luqman’s campaign raised RM9,147 – more than RM1,000 above his initial target. Through the kindness of the people, he got to take this opportunity to go to Mexico on exchange.
I asked Luqman to share the biggest 3 lessons he learnt from his crowdfunding experience for anyone else considering starting a campaign. Here they are, in his own words.
Lesson #1: Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out
“Even before Skolafund, most people want to help others. They might not naturally be the kind of people who will find those in need and offer help, but when a platform or opening is given, they will help. That’s what Skolafund is to me, a platform for people to reach out for help.
This might be particularly true with guys like me, who are sometimes not as expressive or open. We’re afraid of what people are going to say. We don’t want people’s pity, or to be seen as a charity case. To open up a part of yourself is something that is very scary. But people will help, if only you’re brave enough to reach out.”
(Thinking of crowdfunding? Not sure who you need to tell about your campaign? We’ve got you covered with this complete list.)
Lesson #2: Be True To Yourself
“Ask yourself: why are you reaching out in the first place? If you are aware why you are doing this, then everything will be clear and smooth afterwards.
Even after you’ve already successfully crowdfunded, you still need to be clear why you did it. When I was already in Mexico, doing my exchange period, I kept reminding myself that every cent of this is people’s money – it’s people’s trust in me.”
(Look out for the next article in Luqman’s #skolafunded feature to find out what he learnt on exchange in Mexico.)
Lesson #3: Stay Passionate
“If you’re considering crowdfunding, you are definitely already passionate about whatever it is you are raising money for – whether it’s your education, an idea or a project, you have that passion. I would say that you then have to stay passionate. Exposing your passion to other people is a pressurising thing, but you have to stay passionate.
Every now and then, I open Skolafund’s website and read the stories. I contribute if I can.
Crowdfunding was not just about raising the funds. I also received a lot of love.”
Show some love to Skolafund by contributing to any student campaign here, or simply sharing the stories with your friends!
We believe that crowdfunding changes lives. #skolafunded is a feature on the Skolafund Blog that aims to cover stories of those whose lives have been changed after crowdfunding on Skolafund.com. Check out the previous stories here:
- “God sent me Angels.” This Young Wife Thought She Had To Kill Her Savings Just To Stay In School, But…
- Dear Young Couples Still Studying, Here’s A Message For You.
- This Marine Science Graduate Helped Stranded Dolphins And Sea Turtles During Her Internship
- 3 Easy Tips From The IIUM Graduate Who Crowdfunded RM6,611 For Her Studies