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Aim high: how Grace met her 40 Hour Famine fundraising goals

World Vision
18 January 2016 by Rebekah Cochrane
Aim high: how Grace met her 40 Hour Famine fundraising goals

Late last year I had the chance to chat with Grace Jenman, 13 years old and a Year 8 student at William Clarke College. Grace participated in the 40 Hour Famine for the first time in 2014, and managed to raise $20,800 by hand writing letters to over 140 people.

Last year being the 40th Anniversary of the 40 Hour Famine, and with the support and encouragement from her parents – Grace decided that she would double 2014’s efforts. She set her 2015 fundraising goal at $40,000.

Rebekah with William Clarke College student Grace Jenman.

Rebekah with William Clarke College student Grace Jenman.

Grace attended the Sydney World Vision Youth Conference at Luna Park in June. Here she was truly inspired by the clip showing the story of 12 year old Tamin, from Bangladesh. Grace loved being able to see how funds from World Vision have made such a difference in Tamin’s life – with provision of chickens and plenty of eggs to eat and sell. She loved that an income for Tamin’s family meant that Tamin could now go to school, and have plenty of food – “It was so good to see exactly how money from the 40 Hour Famine can help kids.”

After the Youth Conference, Grace started handwriting letters to friends, family and her dad’s business network. She decided to aim to write at least 240 letters, but ended up writing over 400 letters in total! Each letter was two A4 pages long describing Tamin’s story and outlining Grace’s heart to help kids who “should be able to have what we have – especially food.”


Some days, Grace wrote 20 letters and her hand became sore and blistered but she decided that it would be worth it – and it certainly was! Grace was able to raise $44,357 in total. This brought William Clarke College’s total fundraising for this year’s 40 Hour Famine to $85,275 – breaking all previous school records.

After this incredible achievement, Grace continued with another huge effort by handwriting thank you cards to each person who donated to her 40 Hour Famine Account. She posted each of these, along with a gift for each donor. (Grace told me that she would like to work for World Vision in the future, and would love to have a career in Fundraising – I think she’s already qualified!)

I asked Grace if she has any tips for other students who would like to raise significant amounts in the 40 Hour Famine. This is her advice:

  • “Aim high, because people really do want to help you to reach your goal.”
  • “State your goal specifically so people will think about giving more.”
  • “Tell people exactly how their money can help e.g. $20 can help feed 2 people for a month.”
  • “Keep working hard because the end result will be worth it.”

What an amazing young lady – and what a privilege it is to watch young people learning to understand that they have a part to play in changing the world right now.

Rebekah Cochrane Rebekah Cochrane

Rebekah is a Youth Relationship Representative with World Vision Australia.


4 Responses

  • Sandy says:

    Grace is just extraordinary. She so demonstrates that there is a gift in some for great empathy, even at a young age, and persistence, perseverance and action to match it. Very encouraging for us all.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Sandy, thank you for your message for Grace. We have so many passionate, dedicated young people working towards making poverty history. Today’s students will become tomorrows teachers and leaders and we are also encouraged by the commitment shown by Grace and other young people who don’t just want to talk about the problem – they act ! All the best to you and thank you for taking the time to send your message.

  • Andrew Moore says:

    What an extraordinary effort by this young lady. Marvellous outcome. Shows what people can achieve when they put their
    mind to it.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      HI Andrew, thank you for your kind encouragement for Grace and all our passionate 40 Hour Faminers. 🙂 Appreciate you taking the time to do that. All the best !

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