[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]A campaign started by the student’s union at DCU, after a second year student learned he was facing deportation, has led to him being granted an extended stay in Ireland.
Former pastor, 30-year-old Shepherd Machaya, was told by the Department of Justice that he was to leave Ireland by the 21st of October.
However, in a statement posted to their Facebook, DCUSU confirmed that Machaya is now allowed to stay in Ireland until February 2019, and that the deportation order has been postponed.
“The #SaveOurShepherd campaign can now progress with an increased degree of structure and calculated progression. This is a very tangible win for those who have contributed to the campaign and something that highlights the power of the student movement.
“Shepherd is very grateful,” the students union wrote.
Machaya is a student in DCU under the University of Sanctuary scheme, which allows refugees to study there.
He previously studied software development in Portlaoise College and is now a second year Management of Information Technology student in DCU.
He has been living in Direct Provision in Laois for the last nine years after fleeing his homeland following threats and torture from members of the ZANU-PF party, co-founded by Robert Mugabe. Members of the party threatened to kill him in an attempt to force him to join the party.
Members of DCU’s student union began an online petition, calling on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to revoke the deportation of Machaya. The petition has over 14,000 signatures.
The Zimbabwe native applied for asylum, but this was rejected by authorities. In a video posted to DCUSU’s Facebook page, Machaya said that if he returns to Zimbabwe, his life would be in danger.
Other colleges from across the country have written to Minister Flanagan in support of Machaya, such as Waterford IT and Carlow IT. The students have also received the support of the Union of Students in Ireland, as well as the Irish Refugee Council.
In an open letter to Minister Flanagan, the student union said that Machaya is ‘an individual who embodies everything that Irish citizens strive to be,’ and that ‘he is here to better himself to be part of [Irish] society’.
The Students Union say that they will continue their campaign, and will meet in the coming days, as they hope for Machaya to be allowed reside in Ireland permanently.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]