& # 39; I am ashamed that they come here to be treated in this way. Third world students need our help & # 39;

  fr. Martin Pender and Terence Sabasaba
P. Martin Pender and Terence Sabasaba

When young Terence Sabasaba left his homeland South Africa for Ireland, he left him a place of unimaginable violence, cruelty and hardship. After seeing all kinds of murder and violence on streets where bloodthirsty gangs roamed, he was brought into Ballymitty Fr Martin Pender under the wings of Wexford townsman and parish priest, who had been serving in his township for some time and was focused on taking him away. from the bloody streets of South Africa and give him the gift of a solid education.

Upon arrival in Ireland with a temporary visa and after IT had accepted Carlow for a computer science course, Terence and Fr Martin were shocked when they discovered they were expected to pay nearly € 10,000 in tuition fees – the rate for students from outside the EU.

Terence was born in the Lwandle township on the west side of Cape Town and was born in difficult circumstances. The middle child of three, he always showed great promise in his study, something that was fed by Fr Pender.

& # 39; Things are going very badly there, & # 39; Terence explained. & # 39; It is heavy. There is a lot of violence. It is not good for someone who is simply trying to earn a living. There are many robberies and murders. People are killed in the township every weekend. & # 39;

An intelligent young man, Terence longed to escape from streets that run red from the blood like gangs that are bitter for territory and control.

& # 39; People live there in awful conditions in cabins & # 39 ;, said Fr Martin, who served in Lwandle for seven years. & # 39; This causes violence and contempt and the police can not handle it, so the gangs take over. If you do not come from their region, they attack you. Those who want to escape that environment and study are looked down on and everyone, such as Terence, who tries to improve himself, becomes a target. I have experienced this myself for years. Theft, violence, murders, it's daily routine. Every week murders are committed in the townships while gangs capture territories that claim territories. It has got worse in the last seven or eight years. & # 39;

Although violent incidents are commonplace, Fr Pender says he generally got a free pass from the gangs because they recognized him as someone who tried to do good and help in the local community .

After two years studying computer science at the University of Stellenbosch, Terence was financially excluded because he could not pay compensation. According to Fr Martin, the system for awarding scholarships at the university represents what he calls & # 39; a form of psychological apartheid & # 39; where promising young black students are excluded.

& # 39; Recently there was a campaign with the name & # 39; fees should fall & # 39 ;, where students burned down the library. The violence is terrible. & # 39;

Fr Martin, who in the past has done a lot of work in financing educational programs for South African children, has vowed to help Terence with his predicament and offered to house him in Ballymitty , Co Wexford, and pay his salary. tuition fees for him to take part in the Wexford Campus from IT Carlow.

& # 39; I wanted to get him out of that environment where there was a threat to his life, "he said. I do not want one of my students to end up in a mortuary, it's as simple as that. I wanted him to come over here and go to IT Carlow. An African who goes out and gets a European qualification has a greater chance of getting a good job. He needs an internationally recognized qualification and this excludes people who can not pay in South Africa. The apartheid system continues. "

When he arrived in Ireland, Terence immediately got into trouble.

& # 39; The way he was treated at Dublin airport was a scandal & # 39 ;, said Fr Martin. & # 39; Terence had his visa in order and a letter from me who said that I would support him, but he was stopped and interrogated

& # 39; They took his phone from him and scanned his messages I called from outside and was ill that something had happened to him. "

& # 39; I felt a little discriminated, Terence said shyly. "They held me more than an hour and I did not know what to do or what would happen."

Finally he was inside the country and to the sleepy village of Ballymitty and the parochial home there, Terence had more problems with regard to taking up a place at the university. After showing his talents and being admitted to the Computer Science Course for the time being, Terence received a letter from IT Carlow stating that he had to pay € 9.750 in fees.

& # 39; To ask him, a person from a third world country, to pay those costs is a scandal, "said Fr Martin. & # 39; I was willing to pay for his education and give him a place to live here with me. For an EU student it costs € 3000 for the course. I was willing to pay for Terence from my own pocket to follow his education. But I think it is disgraceful that they judge him on the same criteria as rich American and Asian students who come to study here because it is cheaper. & # 39;

IT Carlow told Fr Martin that their hands are stuck and that there is nothing they can do, leaving Terence in the dark as his visa comes to a conclusion.

& # 39; I long to study in Europe to broaden my perspective and gain experience & # 39 ;, he said. I want to be able to go back and help others who are willing to study. I used to work for free at local schools in South Africa before I left. I would love to be able to go back and help with my qualification again. & # 39;

& # 39; I would feel sad if this did not happen to me. My dreams would be destroyed. Going back would be a terrible experience. My mother, she is a single mother, and she was excited to be here and hopes something can be done so that I can come back to try and improve our lives.

Father Martin revealed that Terence still suffers from nightmares of his difficult life in Lwandle and wakes up in the middle of the night with the sound of gunshots in his ears as a result of a recent incident in which he was almost shot. His neighbor was not so lucky and lost his life.

& # 39; I had the mother of this boy on the phone and begged me to save the life of her son, "he said. & # 39; That's why I'm determined to do something for him. This is a human thing, not a religious thing. I went to Africa to help people. Those who make these decisions without regard to the circumstances of these people must spend a day in their shoes. I am ashamed that they come here to be treated in this way. Third world students need our help. & # 39;

Fr Martin recalls another horror story in which a friend he had made in South Africa tried to visit him in Ireland, but was rejected and a visa was denied.

& # 39; This guy was refused a visa, "he said. He returned to South Africa and was hijacked a few days later. They put a gun on his head. They trampled his head.

& # 39; They have put it in the trunk of another car and finally dumped it on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, so he could walk miles and kilometers in the middle of the winter to get home. come. That would never have happened if he was here as I had planned. I felt sick about it. & # 39;

He remains anxiously waiting for Terence. Unless one or another solution can be reached urgently, he returns to Lwandle, no better than when he arrived, and he came right back into a danger zone and without hope accumulated the necessary financial resources to complete his education.

New Ross Standard

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