How we raised £8000

How we raised £8000

How much money would you say it costs to build a library? If you’re reading this from a European or American country, you might be thinking of a six or seven figure sum. In Tanzania, we could get one put together – in a brand new building, including all labour and furniture costs – for a cool £8000, which is just over $11000 US.

Not bad at all, but not many of us have exactly got that sort of money in our back pockets. So it was up to myself and the 14 girls, with support from Surbiton High School, to organise fundraisers to get the money together.

Getting the girls involved

The girls were also each required to pay a considerable sum themselves to Wilderness Expertise, to cover flights, insurance, accommodation etc for the expedition (more details on that in the next post). To me, their parents shouldn’t be underwriting the costs for this, and I made it clear to them from the start that they should aim to raise at least half of this fee by themselves.

Why? Because the expedition doesn’t start when we land in Tanzania, it starts from the moment they sign up for it. Proactive initiative is required of the girls to succeed in a demanding expedition environment, which is all about pushing them way out of their comfort zones. Getting them to take ownership and responsibility of payment for the expedition fee is a good place to start.

Of course, they are still teenagers, so you have to be realistic about what you can demand of them. It was my responsibility to take the lead on the raising of the £8000, with a series of fundraisers, big and small, within and outside of school, but having their support in ensuring we could make them happen. These took on many different forms…

Physical Challenges

I was actually able to get the ball rolling before I advertised the library project to the girls, via getting sponsorships for my Mt Kilimanjaro climb. This raised about £1000, and got us off to a good start.


I’m lucky enough to work in a School where I have fantastically generous colleagues. This includes a wonderful lady called Sharon who, after finding out a bit more about what KYGN were all about, pledged to run the London Marathon for us.

Sharon is, not to put too fine a point on it, the unofficial staff well-being officer at our school, and the subsequent gratitude many people feel toward her ensured she raised a whopping £2000+ from running the marathon!

Last, and certainly, not least I’m currently putting my body through the rigors of a sprint-triathlon along with my lovely colleague Rebecca. I’m a lazy $%£*, to be frank with you, so the fact I’m doing this hopefully indicates to you how passionate I am about the project. We’ve raised over £1000 as things stand

Becca and Joe on bikes

In School Fundraisers

The day I write this article, Thursday 3rd June, is World Book Day, making it appropriate enough that I write a blog post about our library project.

For World Book Day, we dress up as our favourite book characters (pictures included here!) and bring in £1 each. With approximately 1000 people in the school community, that’s another tidy £2000 in the kitty.


Can you tell which one I am…?


Last year we held a House fashion show with a literary theme. Using my position as one of the heads of the six houses, I was able to convince top brass to give us a slice of the proceeds from the fashion show (raising money for charity is its main purpose) to the library. That was another £1000.

And last, but not least, the remainder of the money was raised through many cake sales and the like over the course of 18 or so months, and library fines for overdue books (turning a negative in to a positive!).

Fundraising mission accomplished!

The net result is that we are looking at exceeding our target, as the triathlon money is still ongoing, and there are still a few smaller fundraisers to come. Plus we’re getting some money from next week’s fashion show again. So as well as a library, we might be able to get KYGN one or two other things too! Watch this space…

For those of you reading this post who might be attempting something similar (or looking to fundraise in general), I hope this has shown you that, with the right support from key people and a bit of forward planning, it is indeed possible to raise a quite large sum of money if you can put in a few hours of effort and hard work in to it.


  • Helen Namauu

    March 5, 2016 at 2:05 am Reply

    Wow, what a noble feat you did raising that sum of money! Your great ideas work together for the completion of this fundraising, you are a fundraising wizard!

    • Joe

      March 5, 2016 at 8:48 am Reply

      Thanks Helen, you’re very kind to say this. There’s no magic formula really, just lots of planning, hard work and support from some important people!


    April 20, 2016 at 8:19 am Reply

    Hi globetrotter Joe!yesterday was a special day when a friend and colleague mentioned about your project and excitedly I sought it out in the internet. I love your logo KYGN. Congratulations for such a noble project! Yes you’re right there’s really no magic formula to succeed in such an endeavor and make things happen for something you are passionate about. Its all a matter of the willingness of the heart and people who care for others especially for those in need. Last night I mentioned your project to a dear friend who is running for governor in my hometown in the Philippines wherein one of her priority projects is to establish a community library in every barangay or cluster of barangays. I share this advocacy as well in my ministry for Moms and Kids which is starting up.God bless your work in KYGN!

    • Joe

      April 20, 2016 at 8:29 am Reply

      Thank you very much Evangeline, and I’m glad you found this post inspiring. KYGN is indeed a great project – one I can’t take any credit for setting up, as it was in place already – and what you’re looking to achieve in the Philippines is also very exciting. I was in the Philippines myself recently (which I’ll be blogging about in due course), and it’s a beautiful country…but yes, I am aware of there being a lot of poverty there, which I saw a glimpse of in Manila especially. Where is your hometown?


    April 21, 2016 at 1:57 am Reply

    hi joe!I come from Masbate City in the Province of Masbate, the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines due to its fantastic rangelands and cattle ranches. its right at the center of the Philippine archipelago and comprises three beautiful islands Masbate, Ticao and Burias , a very challenging place for development work. Masbate Province with its three islands is the small replica of the Philippines ‘ Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

    • Joe

      April 21, 2016 at 5:39 am Reply

      Thanks for letting me know. Might be a place worth checking out next time I visit the Phillipines 🙂

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