Kwasi Abban, of the Teach First Bristol Society, raised almost £100 for our Futures Programme through a sponsored free school meals challenge in which he lived on £11.20 for a week. Teach First societies are student-led groups at universities all around the UK committed to addressing the issue of educational inequality. The challenge gave him the opportunity to raise awareness of our work and impact. We spoke to him to find out how it went...
Kwasi, what inspired you to do a free school meal challenge as a fundraiser?
I’m always looking for holidays or awareness days to tie into Teach First activities and when I saw that National School Meals Week was 31 October to 4 November, Teach First’s free school meals stat came to mind (21% of children on free school meals attend university, compared to around 85% from independent schools).
A quick Google search told me that school meals cost on average £437 per child per year, which (divided by 39 school weeks) works out as £11.20 per week. My challenge was therefore to live off £11.20 for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the five days – compare that to my usual approximately £40 weekly shop and I was in for a real challenge!
How did you raise awareness of what you were doing in order to get sponsorship?
Mainly just the daily updates on my Facebook page, posting photos of my 'meals' with a link to the JustGiving page. That, and trying to work it into whatever conversation I happened to be having that week. One thing I learnt, which came as a surprise, was how willing people who I didn’t necessarily expect to donate (friends from school I hadn’t seen for years) were to help me out which made me unbelievably happy - it's thanks to them that I was able to raise nearly £100 in under a week.
What was the best and worst part of the experience?
Best part was midway through the week when the monotony of the Sainsbury’s basics ham and ‘just-add-water’ soup packets was broken by a surprisingly delicious pizza that cost a mere 90p (maybe the cheapness should have been a cause for concern but by that stage I would have eaten virtually anything). The worst part was waking up from a nap on day two with the shakes/sweats, so low were my energy levels – it was a real worry at the time, but my body just adjusted throughout the week.
What’s next for the Teach First Bristol Society?
We’re hosting an education discussion, an informal debate if you like, in collaboration with a couple of other societies. We have loads of great social impact groups at Bristol so this will be a chance to spread the word to like-minded people about the great work Teach First does.
Find out how you can fundraise for our Futures Programme, or learn more about our Teach First societies.