An Interview with Justine Frost

HOPE worldwide Nepal has provided a high-quality education to children from materially poor families for over 25 years. The Asha Vidhyashram Primary School in Kathmandu provides free education for children whose parents are daily wage labourers with an unstable income. Thanks to the generosity of UK supporters, in addition to a free education, students of the school receive books, a nutritious meal, and can take part in extra-curricular activities.

Students at the Asha Vidhyashram School

Justine Frost has fundraised for Asha Vidhyashram since 2003, when the school had limited support and risked having to close its doors to its 150 students. Justine and her husband led a fundraising initiative with their church house group. We asked about her motivations for supporting the school, and her top tips for fundraising for international programmes.

What needs did the Asha Vidhyashram School have in 2003?

JF: The school needed us to meet all their funding needs. Other projects were short of funds and the school was struggling to find new donors. HOPE worldwide was looking for small church groups to take ownership of a specific project. Prior to this, everybody gave to HOPE and the money was distributed to different programmes. Once we knew we were the school’s only support, we felt very responsible to make sure that we raised the money and that we kept giving because we knew if we didn’t, they had to start from scratch to find someone else to provide the funds.

Why did you want to support the school?

JF: We all had young children at the time that were similar ages and all going to school. It felt like a really good project to fundraise for because had they been our children without a school to go to, we would have really appreciated the support. All our children were very young. Ned was born that year when we first started giving to them; Kate was three; Eleanor was six.

How did you fundraise for the school over the years?

JF: We did some very long sponsored walk events! My husband did one walk over 100 miles and he raised money through his work. They did mountain events where they walked several mountains in a day. I actually got my daughters’ school to fundraise for them as their charity of the year, and they gave £6,000 that year. Often, schools really like to support another school because they can relate to it. The children from the school all wrote cards and sent them over to say thank you which was really nice.

Justine (far right) fundraising for our ODAAT substance addiction recovery programme

What tips would you share with someone else who wants to support a HOPE worldwide programme?

JF: I would say be as involved as is helpful for the programme. We have tried not to be a burden on HOPEww Nepal by demanding too much information. I don’t want them to feel hugely indebted to us…in England, you’d go to school and the council would be paying and you wouldn’t have to thank anyone. On the other hand, having stories of children that have gone through the school and the success of the school really encourages people to give. So it’s having enough information that you can really encourage people who are giving to keep in touch, because it’s very easy to cancel your standing order and decide, ‘I’m not going to give to that anymore’, but if you’re hearing stories of people’s lives that are changing as a result of what you’re giving, you don’t want to stop giving because you see the benefit of what you’re doing. So I would say have some contact with the programme, go visit if you can. That’s something we definitely need to do. If you decide to give to a project then I think it is a nicer way to give – you get a lot out of it yourself as well.

For more information about the work of HOPE worldwide Nepal, please click here.

If you would like to set up a standing order of any amount to support Asha Vidhyashram, please click here and choose a monthly gift to the ‘Kathmandu School’.

Students at the Asha Vidhyashram School