When Vitoria Mario created a GoFundMe, she did so with the intention to raise money to go towards her college tuition. But she never imagined that singer and A-list celebrity, Taylor Swift, would be donating to her fund!
On her GoFundMe, 18-year-old Mario explained how she’d been offered a conditional place to study Mathematics at the prestigious University of Warwick. While it was an honor, Mario was not in a financial place to accept as she couldn’t pay the fees.
She wrote, “I have lived in the U.K. for 4 years now, after migrating from Portugal to live with my family in Tottenham. The socioeconomic barriers of not being eligible for maintenance loans/grants is due not only to not having ‘Home’ status, but also because my family is low income, and unable to help me self-fund through university.”
Mario had overcome a few hurdles of her own. She had lost her father, and her mother had returned to Portugal. However, her family encouraged the young woman to stay in the UK so that she could receive a university degree from there.
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Mario elaborated, “In spite of this, I have always been a studious person, and after coming to the U.K. in 2016, unable to utter a word in English, I achieved 100% A*-As in all my GCSEs in 2018, getting a grade 9 and 8 in Maths and English respectively.”
Mario had set up the fund in order to raise a goal of £40,000, which is roughly $52,000. The money was aimed to help her cover her tuition, as well as accommodation, school supplies, and general living expenses. But that was when Swift stepped in with an incredible gift for Mario in the form of a £23,373, or $30,000 USD, donation.
Part of her hopes in attending college is that it she will be able to inspire others to not give up on their dreams despite certain hurdles like race, immigration status, and financial background.
Mario also noted that there are only 35% of female STEM students, while only 25% of female STEM students actually graduate. Adding on to the gender imbalance, Mario noted that there is even less representation for those women of color, particularly black women. After reading about Mario and her goals, an impressed Swift wanted to do something to help her along the way. She was touched by Mario’s dedication to persevere and achieve her dreams.
Swift wrote on the GoFundMe page, “Victoria, I came across your story online and am so inspired by your drive and dedication to turning your dreams into reality. I want to gift you the rest of your goal amount. Good luck with everything you do! Love, Taylor.”
Speaking to BBC Radio, Mario shared how she was blown away by Swift’s donation. Mario shared that she’d always been a fan of Swift’s but then after receiving the money, she said she’d be a fan for the remainder of her life. She added that she was going to make Swift proud by graduating with top honors.
With her, her place at the University of Warwick confirmed, Mario is looking forward to her bright future. She is incredibly thankful to all her supporters who helped her along the way. No doubt she is going to go far in life.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.