Student crowdfunds to study master's abroad

Miss Elizabethe Er.
Miss Elizabethe Er. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ELIZABETHE ER

SINGAPORE (The New Paper) - To fund her year-long studies abroad, Miss Elizabethe Er, 26, has started a crowdfunding project to raise £12,000 (S$21,000).

The freelance art history researcher took to UK crowdfunding platform, Crowdfunder, on Monday to launch her campaign, Let Lizzie Learn.

While some said she deserves a shot at higher education, others have criticised her saying there are more worthy causes to support, like those which help the sick or poor.

Miss Er is going to pursue a master's degree in South-east Asian studies in the University of London.

She has raised about £1,020 as at press time yesterday, and will receive all pledges made by July 9.

In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, the history graduate from Nanyang Technological University said she needs £40,000, but is only planning to raise £12,000 and has already taken a bank loan.

Miss Er said: "I am mainly seeking the support of my friends and family, but if people who don't know me decide to lend a helping hand as well, I would be super grateful to them."

She will be flying off in September, and will take part-time jobs in London.

She is also challenging herself to live off $50 a week now.

Said Miss Er: "My goal is to learn more about South-east Asian art, and how it has represented our region's significance in global history.

"I also want to be a voice for female artists, as they are often forgotten in favour of their male counterparts."

Netizens, like Facebook user Nana Teo, were not impressed.

She said: "There are many others who are in a more desperate situation and are (more) in need of help."

Another Facebook user, Ec Lim, said: "There are many needy people waiting for help... If (she were) researching into a cure for cancer, we can consider."

On the criticism, Miss Er said: "I respect the viewpoints of others, and in turn hope they will understand. I don't wish to freeload off people, and my Crowdfunder also offers rewards."

Each donor will be acknowledged in her master's dissertation and receive a self-published e-book on South-east Asian art.

Social media consultant and director of thinkBIG Communications, Ms Belinda Ang, told TNP that people may be too quick to judge those who are asking for help through crowdfunding.