Story by Katie Ericson
Photos Courtesy Innocent Mutanga
We all know Drake isn’t the cheapest school. Each year the tuition goes up a little more (4.4 percent this year), and we all groan in unison. Most of us simply sign up for student loans and accept the debt. But one student has pursued a different avenue.
Innocent Mutanga is fundraising for his tuition. He started his own page on youcaring.com dedicated to a fund to help him attend Drake. The website explains his life story and allows readers to dedicate any amount of money, from $5 to $1,000 toward Mutanga’s $30,000 goal.
“After I had exhausted every little and big idea I had that could help me get back to Drake, crowd funding was an option that always knocked on my mind, but I always dismissed it,” Mutanga said. “After a few days of inner reflection, and how desperate I was to get back to Drake, I decided to swallow my ego and start the fundraiser.”
Surely you’re wondering why Mutanga has the right to ask for this. He explains this in his bio as he describes a long journey through hardship, travel and inspiration.
Originally from Zimbabwe, Mutanga first started attending Drake in 2011. He managed to get into the school and afford his freshman year, but due to economic problems and crises in Zimbabwe, he wasn’t able to pay for more than one year.
So Mutanga returned home. In his native country, he realized there was much wrong with it and that if it continued, his dream wouldn’t be the only one ruined by economics and political turmoil.
With this in mind, Mutanga began traveling the world. Wandering from country to country, he relied on people’s good will and charity as he carried nothing but a backpack.
He worked in South Africa as a missionary and helped with typhoon Yolanda.
After seeing the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan, Mutanga came up with an idea. He realized Zimbabwe needed a revolution that could only be reached through education. To start reaching this goal, he looked to Drake.
“I never wanted to leave Drake in the first place. I consider Drake University as a place to develop my intellect and to get the right tools to contribute to African Renaissance. I have always been doing my best to get back to Drake from the day the situation forced me out of the environment I always love.”
Hoping to further his own education and eventually help others from Zimbabwe as well, Mutanga returned to the States.
He was accepted back into Drake and now is pursuing not one, not two, but three degrees. With a triple goal of Actuarial Science, Philosophy, and Physics, Mutanga is set out to learn as much as he can.
“I plan to use my education to optimize my impact in the community and to be a responsible global citizen as the Drake mission statement points out,” he said. “Each dollar that the students donate towards my education will not only benefit me, but will ultimately impact the communities I will be working with.”
There’s only one obstacle in Mutanga’s grand scheme. Tuition. He needs $30,000 to afford a year of college at Drake. Then he’ll have to continue this again, and again as he pursues his three degrees. Mutanga could’ve gone to a different more affordable school, but he says Drake is the school for him.
“Drake is the best place for me, it is simply home to me. There is a very rare amazing brotherhood spirit within the Drake community,” he said. “Most importantly, Drake allows me to explore a wide variety of academic interests. Each department has incredibly stimulating courses, from philosophy to mathematics.”
Currently, Mutanga has raised $270 of his goal. If you’re interested in helping him stay at Drake and complete his three degrees and dream of an African Renaissance, go to www.youcaring.com/innocent. There you can read more about his story, and donate to his cause.