Rui Da Silva’s mother Elnete worked hard for him and his sibling to have a good upbringing in the UK.

Now, Da Silva wanted to do the same for her.

One Son Wanted to Give His Mom What She Gave Him

woman wearing a cap and smiling with her son

Elnete was working as a dinner lady in London.

Da Silva, a youth worker and music producer, told BuzzFeed News that his mother had been cooking for most of her life and had always wanted to study. “Coming from West Africa, formal education is of a certain importance,” he said. “But since coming to England, as a single mother, the opportunity to study has been out of reach.”

Da Silva said his mother was studying a dental nursing course when they first moved to the UK. But his father had died when he was five and his younger sister was one and his mother had to drop her studies.

In 2013, his mother survived a battle with breast cancer. “Post her battle, she found serenity with cooking. So while some had comfort food, my mum had comfort cooking,” Da Silva said.

Then Elnete was given an unconditional offer from the University of West London to study professional cookery. Da Silva said she was over the moon; but she had to gain a level 2 NVQ before she could study as an undergraduate, and was disappointed to learn that she was not eligible for financial support.

How a Son Supported His Mom’s Dreams for an Education

woman talking on the phone

Da Silva was determined to help his mother go to university despite this obstacle. “I spent weeks searching for funds, grants, loans, but came to realise that GoFundMe is the best choice,” he said.

So he secretly sets up a GoFundMe page and writes: Born and raised in Sao Tome eating Jackfruit for breakfast. Catching and cooking fish for dinner. Moving to Portugal, sampling a range Afro-Portuguese food.

Living in England, cooking culturally English food at work. Feeding the family with a beautiful amalgamation of Afro-Portuguese-British food. Countless attempts at appropriating every recipe she can get her hands on. Later catering to her son’s vegetarian diet for the last 3-4 years. My mother’s palette is vast, rich and still, for her, not vast enough.

With 164 donations, the campaign raised £2,505 raised of £2,000 goal and many left encouraging comments for the mother.

“Wow…what an amazing son you are! I hope your mum enjoys following her dreams. Thanks for making me smile by being awesome!” one donor wrote.

“Good Luck!!! Moms are super heroes and your mom certainly deserves to go on her next adventure!” another one wrote.

“I think she’ll feel a sense of control over her life. Working for many years to pay the bills, at a workplace that doesn’t cater to her creativity. I think being in university would really fuel her to get creative and embrace her self-value as a capable individual.”

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