496 days to go

Although I haven’t actually raised any money this week, I have put a lot of thoughts into motions and I’m feeling pretty confident and organised for summer to begin and start attending the fetes.

I received emails and booking forms back from all the local fetes I contacted, and have sent off some already with a few more to be posted this weekend. The only mishap was me having no idea what a SAE was, of which needed to be included to receive tickets. Being only 16 in an ever increasing technological generation, I’ve never needed or even heard of a ‘stamped addressed envelope’, in fact having to post off all these booking forms and cheques seems slightly alien to me – I’m much more used to emailing people and using bank transfers or paypal.

As well as this my large order of t-shirts has arrived, ready to be dyed and sold. I am thinking of putting a few on eBay to see how they sell on there, just to give a rough idea of how much people would be willing to pay in the summer.

All in all, my little entrepreneurial is coming along well – all that needs to happen now is to actually start making some money instead of just planning for it!

 

500 days to go

Today I made a very big investment into what I hope will raise me a significant sum of money this summer. As I am in year 11 and sitting my GCSE’s soon (in fact, my first exam is 10 weeks tomorrow.. terrifyingly) I get a twelve week summer holiday!!! What could make 3 months of sunny carefree days even better..? Making money of course!! I think this summer is a perfect time to earn a large chunk of money for World Challenge, and I have come up with a plan which I am hoping will aid me in doing this.

Pretty much every weekend during the summer months there are fetes and fairs, which are always copiously attended by happy people enjoying the sunny days (of which I am usually one). However I have decided to attend these fetes on the other side of the stalls – I have already emailed 9 local fetes asking to book a stall, with 3 responses, and am looking for some more. I will be selling my wares of handmade tie dye t-shirts, and services as a hair braider. Hopefully both of these will be popular among the fete attendees, as most of the fetes are at primary schools or aimed at children I tried ensure my stall catered for a slightly younger audience.

So today I invested my Latitude fund into buying t-shirts to tie dye and feathers to braid into hair.. If this doesn’t go to plan not only will I be the owner of around 300 feathers, I will also not be attending any festivals this summer, which just adds to the motivation of making the money (as if Sri Lanka isn’t enough motivation in itself). Although on a scarily big scale, I think this could really do well and put me well on the way to my target of £4137.

508 days to go

1 week, 96 eggs, 4kg of flour, 6kg of butter and 6kg of sugar later and we were the proud bakers of over 240 cupcakes and 180 biscuits. As mentioned in the last post, along with two fellow World Challenge participants I was involved in selling these homemade, T-Bird and Pink Ladies themed wares every night of my schools production of Grease.

We initially aimed to make £200 each, although realised this was slightly steep, with each night holding less people than we first thought. However, we did manage to raise £102 each, which for something which did not seem like a chore at all (we thoroughly enjoyed being able to watch the production every night for free) I am very happy with! Although quite a small amount, I am pleased to have got the ball rolling with the first major fundraising event.

541 days to go

 

In three weeks my school’s bi-annual theatre production of is taking place, with the musical this year being ‘Grease’. Since my school holds such a big emphasis on drama and music, this is a huge affair, and each night generates an audience of over 200, made up of students, parents and the general public. Myself and two friends also partaking in World Challenge, although not in my group, saw this as an excellent fundraising opportunity, and asked the head of production if we could run a stall each night. We were granted permission, and decided to run a bake sale of ‘Grease’ themed goods.

We have been asked to make around 100-120 cakes and biscuits each night, and if we are able to sell all of these for £1 each, we should be able to make an impressive £600 in total! Obviously this will be split between the three of us, but should we do as well as predicted, I think £200 profit from one week would be a pretty good achievement!

 

542 days to go

Up to this point I have known only rough details of what the actual month in Sri Lanka will consist of, with no specifics. I knew the trip was split into four sections – acclimatisation (getting used to the heat and humidity of the country for a few days before beginning the most grueling activities), trekking, the community phase and finally a few days of rest and relaxation (R&R) towards the end, however I didn’t know what each of these four sections included. Yesterday evening our itinerary planning meeting was held, and after three and a half hours of planning within our group, we have decided which parts of Sri Lanka we will be visiting whilst out there, which community project we will work with, and which treks we are hoping to complete.

The main decision to make was which community project we wanted to be involved with, in Sri Lanka there are currently two main issues World Challenge deals with – lack of resources in female monasteries, and lack of resources in schools. The former is down to Sri Lanka still being a way behind the UK in gender equality. Male monasteries were compared to ‘palaces’, with elaborate buildings equipped with far and beyond the necessities to live. Comparatively, female monasteries receive no funding, and the women who give up their lives for their religion, are currently struggling to even put food on the table.

The lack of resources in schools is, again, down to lack of funding. Sri Lanka has only recently resolved the civil war between the Tamil Tigers and Sinhalese, so previously education has not been the main focus for the Government. Along with this, the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004 had a devastating impact on Sri Lanka, again giving the Government more urgent things to spend money on. These factors, as well as some others, have led to lack of teachers, schools and teaching resources, continuing the viscous cycle of children growing up uneducated, thus being unable to educate the next generation.

We were given the choice between which of these two issues we wanted to work with while in Sri Lanka. Both are so worthwhile and in our time out there I really believe we would be able to make a difference to the communities. However, our group unanimously decided to support the schools, we thought we would be more able to relate to people similar to our own age, and have a lot more to give and learn from the children as opposed to in the monasteries. Although we are not given the exact project site we will be working on, as it is unknown at what stage everywhere in the country will be in 2017, we know we will be working with children and local schools, which I couldn’t be happier with!

575 days to go

A massive part of both the preparation and actual expedition for World Challenge is fitness. I actually used to be pretty fit, running most days and regularly doing 5K’s, but this year it’s all gone to pot really. It’s such a typical excuse but I just can’t find the time/be bothered to find the time/use time efficiently instead of fueling my Netflix addiction. BUT… Today that will change. I’m off for my first run in months and I know it will be painful, but the longer I leave it the more embarrassing it will be in our first fitness test. To check we are capable of the expedition, as it is very physically demanding, we have regular fitness tests in the form of ‘the bleep test’ (a phrase synonymous with devil) and cooper (12 minute) runs. Our first test is in March, so in order to actually pass it I’m taking back up exercise as of today. Updates and most likely pain to follow.

576 days to go

Finally school has broken up for the Christmas holidays! It’s been a busy term studying and sitting mocks, which of course have taken up the majority of my time over the last few weeks, unfortunately detracting from time fundraising for World Challenge.

However, last Monday we had our first meeting with the teachers running World Challenge and our representative, who from what I understand will be coming to Sri Lanka with us next summer. The representative of whose name I believe to be Dom (???) has previously visited Sri Lanka on numerous occasions and so gave us shed loads of information on the country and what the trip involves… I didn’t think it was possible to be more excited than I was, but I was wrong. Sri Lanka looks like a truly amazing country and the experiences we have out there match that.

He told us about the community projects we would be involved in, Sri Lankan culture and the trips we had the option to undertake when out there. One trek in particular amazed us all – this was a hike beginning at 2am up a mountain called St. Adam’s Peak. You begin walking whilst it is still dark, although the way is lit (as shown in the truly incredible picture below). However, by the time you reach the summit of the mountain (after around five hours) the sun is beginning to rise. This would be a truly beautiful sight by itself, but it is made all the more special by being able to watch the sunrise from a Buddhist monastery situated on the top of the mountain.

sri-lanka-villas-h73

I was still slightly unsure I’d made the right choice signing up for World Challenge, what with the £500 first installment looming and having a grand total of £11.87 raised so far. However after this meeting I was completely reassured – World Challenge looks like it is going to be the most amazing and worthwhile trip, we really are able to make a difference to the communities out there. The previous community phases in Sri Lanka included helping rebuild a Buddhist monastery and working in a primary school, teaching English to the students, all of which sound absolutely incredible. I really can’t wait!

604 days to go

So two weeks have passed since I signed up for world challenge, and to be honest nothing that amazing has happened since then, but every little counts, right?

Browsing the World Challenge website there was a fair bit of information about a site ‘Easy Fundraising’. This site raises money by getting cashback from retailers when you shop with them online, all the big names are there – Amazon, eBay, Missguided, John Lewis etc etc. All I had to do was register my cause, and I got given a link. This link takes you to my fundraising page on the Easy Fundraising website, and from here you search whichever retailer you’re planning to use. The massive advantage to this is it costs absolutely nothing to set up a cause page, or to go through the site to buy things. As its the run up to Christmas, and Black Friday this weekend, I’m sure a LOT of online shopping will be done soon – and for a few extra seconds I can raise a certain percentage of the total of the shop (some retailers up to 6%!) I’ve passed on this link to every family member I could think of – grandparents, aunties, step cousins, and asked them all if they could help. So far I’ve raised £4.80, not life changing I know, but I have to say I’m impressed with that in just a couple of weeks! I’m hoping this will drip in small amounts to my fund, and over 2 years I’m sure will be a massive help!

And the second thing this week – I’ve applied for a job.. As an elf at Santa’s grotto! I know if I’ve got any hope of raising that £4137 I’m going to need some sort of regular income, but as this is my GCSE year I can’t afford to let my grades slip by working during term time. But the Christmas holidays are a perfect time, and honestly, who wouldn’t want to be one of Santa’s helpers?! Dressing up as an elf everyday AND getting paid for it? Yes please!!! I’ve got my fingers crossed and am hoping to hear back soon.

This coming week (along with a tonne of revision for my upcoming mocks) I’ll be further brainstorming and putting into action the ideas a couple of friends (also participating in World Challenge) and myself have had – bag packing over the Christmas period, selling something – we have a few ideas but nothing final yet – at Christmas fetes, and organising social events and the classic (but every successful) bake sale at school.

Have a great week ya’ll xo

618 days to go

My name is Annabel, I’m 16 years old, and in July 2017, just under 2 years, I will be making what I am anticipating to be a life changing trip to Sri Lanka. You may or may not be aware of the organisation ‘World Challenge’, I have been for a few years now, and as I moved up senior school it was always an aspiration and goal to be part of it.. and now I finally am!

World Challenge is a charity that enables students to partake in challenging trips all across the world (as the name suggests). Every year World Challenge works with a group of students, helping them plan their itinerary and offering support throughout the lead up to, and actual trip. This year, my school decided on Sri Lanka as the destination – I couldn’t have been happier with this! Whilst on World Challenge one of the main focuses of the trip will be working with local charities out there, helping communities more disadvantaged than my own. Previous charity work undertaken by World Challengers involves building or renovating schools, working in monasteries, local conservation projects and volunteering at animal sanctuaries to name a few, I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and really hope our visit is able to make a difference

However… I somehow need to raise £4137 to get there, that’s a HUGE amount of money and sitting here thinking about it, that much really seems overwhelming! That works out to around £200 per month, every month from now! I have a few ideas in my head, but transferring them into reality I’m sure will prove much more difficult!

I’ve never made a blog before, and don’t really read that many, but when I was deciding whether to apply for World Challenge I had a look around the internet to see if there were any run by current or previous World Challenge participants, and I couldn’t find that many. I thought there would be hundreds documenting their fundraising progress and the trip itself, I was really interested to see how other people found it and I just wanted to know more about it. So that’s why I’ve decided to start this, as a real, honest, step by step documentation of my World Challenge. I hope to update this regularly along the way, and with this would absolutely LOVE to hear from anyone who has, currently is, or is thinking about joining World Challenge.

This is the first of what I know is going to be a very VERY long and tough process, but I have no doubt that it is all worth it.  If you’re interested in what World Challenge is about, have a look at the World Challenge Website there’s information on anything and everything about the charity and the expeditions.

Thank you! 🙂