COVID-19 Student Crisis Support Fund: Barbara Flores Pimentel’s Story

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MSc Student Barbara Flores Pimentel at the University quad
Barbara Flores Pimentel, MSc student in Project Management

In response to the global pandemic, the University of Liverpool launched its COVID-19 Student Crisis Support Fund to provide support to students and their families facing financial hardship. We spoke to Barbara Flores Pimentel, an MSc Project Management student from Peru, about what receiving funding meant to her.

After receiving excellent grades on her BSc Business Administration degree in Peru, and specialising in project management and supply chains over five years in the workplace, Barbara received a full scholarship from the University of Liverpool to study on the MSc Project Management programme. She said: “Studying a Masters degree in the UK was a goal which I have had for many years. Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to cover all the expenses including my food and housing. I came to the UK with some savings that helped me cover my food expenses. My parents were helping me with the payment of my accommodation and at the same time, I worked occasionally for a hospitality agency, which allowed me to dedicate enough time to my studies.”

This delicate funding balance was disrupted when the pandemic struck earlier in the year. Barbara said: “Due to COVID-19, I was put on furlough. My parents in Peru faced a situation worse than mine that prevented them from continuing to support me with the payment of my accommodation. Peru is one of the most hit countries and is ranked 12th among countries with COVID-19 cases. My mom was put on furlough at her job and my dad was unemployed. The health risk and economic instability my parents face in the country so far put great pressure and concern on me.”

“At the same time, my savings kept running out and my accommodation rejected my request for a monthly payment reduction. The pressure of those difficulties affected my health and my academic performance. Migraines that I had not had in long time became more frequent and my grades in the second semester dropped due to my emotional state.”

After receiving funding through the COVID-19 Student Crisis Support Fund, Barbara wishes to express her gratitude to the donors of the Fund: “Thank you very much for your help. It was a huge relief for me to receive that money. It has helped me to pay rent and food expenses while I was seeking a part-time job that simultaneously allows me to continue doing research and seeking for a career job. Recently, I have found a part-time job, which I believe will allow me to cover minimal expenses while I continue working on my career goals.”

Barbara added: “I really appreciate that there are generous people like you who care about the welfare of international students. For most of us, COVID-19 forced us to cope with health risk and economic instability in a country we don’t know well yet and away from our families. That is why, as well as alleviating my situation, I am sure that it also alleviated the situation of many students who needed it.”

On behalf of Barbara and the other COVID-19 Student Crisis Support Fund recipients, the University of Liverpool is thankful to all who have supported this campaign. More than five months after the campaign was launched, and with the UK plunged into a second lockdown, University of Liverpool students are just as in need as before. If you would like to support the COVID-19 Student Crisis Support Fund, please click here.