In June, English teacher Raymond Van Neste took on an incredible physical challenge – performing 100 one-arm press-ups in three minutes to raise money for refugees.

Raymond Van Neste

What inspired you to fundraise for UK for UNHCR?

It’s my gut instinct to help refugees – it seems to me that they are the most vulnerable people on the planet and symbolise the need for the world to change its ways. They are human beings in urgent need of help and their terrible plight is what inspired me throughout my fundraising.

How did you spread the word?

I created three weekly live videos on Facebook as a way of telling everyone about my challenge, letting them see my progress and building excitement in the days leading up to my event.

What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge was to learn how to fundraise in an effective way – I was posting on social media, creating leaflets, making phone calls and sending lots of emails and texts. But I never doubted my passion for what I was doing. That gave me energy and made everything possible.

What was the best part of fundraising?

I think it’s the feeling of achievement. The feeling that what you’re doing – no matter how large or small – has a purpose and will do so much to help refugees. Also, I discovered I could do things I never thought I would, like the Facebook live videos. And through my fundraising, I got to know some amazing people too!

What tips would you pass on to future fundraisers?

My main advice would be don’t doubt your instinct. If you’re determined to help people in desperate need, you will find all the energy and inspiration you need. But it does help to be as organised as possible when it comes to posting on social media and so on. And do your best to plan ahead, so that you don’t lose heart when the going gets tough.

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