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Graduate fundraising for PhD on how single mums raise sons

MUM ON A MISSION: Miranda Armstrong is planning vital research on single parenthood but needs financial support

A SINGLE mother from south London is hoping to achieve her ambition of getting a PhD with the help of kind-hearted donors.

Mother-of-one Miranda Armstrong from Peckham has started an online crowdfunding campaign to raise £19,000 to help fund three years of research into the challenges faced by single mothers raising sons in cities like London.

The 33-year-old, who currently juggles motherhood with her studies, hopes to complete the PhD at the sociology department of Goldsmiths College, University of London.

She believes that with the backing of her community, she can go the full distance and not only produce much-needed research on an emotive topic but also join the ranks of the small collective of black academics in the UK as a sociology lecturer.

Armstrong told The Voice that it was in fact her son who inspired her to return to higher education four years ago.

She said: “I was working full-time in admin and my son was heading back to school and I guess I came to a crossroads where I knew I didn’t want him in childcare before and after school but I knew that if I was going to have to spend time away from him, I wanted to be investing my time building a more secure future for the both of us. I wanted to be best role model I could be for him by making a success of myself.”

Armstrong graduated from the University of Surrey in 2014 with a first-class honours degree and also won accolades for best sociology dissertation and best overall performance.

Her academic achievements earned her a well-deserved scholarship from the London School of Economics (LSE), where she is in the final stages of her Masters degree.

But despite receiving offers to do her PhD from three different institutions, the challenge to independently raise £19,000 has threatened to derail any hopes of her furthering her academic career.

For these reasons Armstrong is hoping that public support will be the driving force to overcome the financial hurdle. The funds will help cover her tuition fees for the three-year course as well as contribute to her living expenses for the first year.

Determined to achieve her goal of having an impactful career in academia, Armstrong explained how her present studies would feed into her long-term goals.

She said: “My research is on how single mothers raise sons to adulthood in inner cities and I’m focusing particularly on households headed up by black single mothers.”

The driven single mum also had some words of encouragement for fellow single parents who are thinking about going back to education. She said: “I would say don’t give up because there will be some difficult moments, but those pass. You just have to keep going and see it as investment in yourself.”

Armstrong’s crowdfunding page can be found at and the campaign page can be found at