Project HOPE


The YMCA of Christchurch is undertaking a courageous and innovative project called Project HOPE.  What this involves is taking a leap of faith on the behalf of some of our most vulnerable young people – the young people the YMCA works with year round in our Alternative Education programme. Alternative Education is a fulltime school programme for 13-16 year olds who for a range of reasons have been excluded from mainstream school. 

Project HOPE is an opportunity for you, individually or as an initiative of your organisation or business, to demonstrate your support for the YMCA’s belief that all young people in New Zealand should have equal rights and equal access to the things many of us take for granted – food, safety, housing, healthcare and education.  Our Alternative Education students are not able to take these things for granted,  and in particular their access to education is extremely limited due to what I consider are some systemic failings of our education system. 

There is much evidence that low levels of education leads ultimately to inter-generational cycles of poverty.  Poverty impacts our whole society in every negative statistic upon which we may measure the health and happiness of any community.  Poverty can lead to poor health, family violence, crime and addiction to name a few.

Our Alternative Education kids are not perfect.  However, nor do they deserve to be treated with less care than other young people.  We have some amazing and dedicated staff who have committed themselves to teaching these students on a day to day basis – and they wouldn’t do that if it were a lost cause.  Our AE kids are spirited, and intelligent, and sometimes misguided…  and they deserve a chance to reach their full potential as do others.

We are taking all our students to Nepal in an effort to break the cycle.  We are also making a documentary about the project and every individual donor will be acknowledged in the credits.  Corporate sponsors will be interviewed for the documentary.

Please spread the word to all your networks – lets show our students that the world is not against them.  That we believe in Project HOPE.   

About 25 Kiwi teenagers aged 14 to 16, all from challenging backgrounds. Dealing with some big personal challenges and excluded from mainstream school. Our aim is to give them hope for their own futures. Without hope, the future is bleak – not just for them but also for our communities. Hopeless citizens end up in our prison statistics, our beneficiary statistics, and inevitably they also have families of their own. Our aim is to break this cycle, by giving them an opportunity that harnesses their talents, highlights their strengths, and demonstrates to them that they have the capacity to help others and by so doing be valuable members of their communities.


Project HOPE is a community outreach initiative from the YMCA. It has never been done before – we are embarking on a world first in terms of Alternative Education.

It is about giving the most at risk youth a chance at a life-changing education, now they have been excluded from the traditional school system.

We want to take more than 20 kids and seven teachers to Nepal, to help rebuild one of the poorest countries in the world, after the devastating earthquakes that took place two years ago.

The idea here is that not only will we help Nepal. We’ll also build hope, self esteem, a sense of self worth, and change these kids’ lives and by so doing impact on them, their siblings, their families and their future families.

In the scheme of things this is a low cost project for a big world changing outcome. The YMCA has been preparing the students for nearly a year, and we have been documenting their journey for a film to be released in 2017. It’s a big crazy story about hope. The pricetag is $200,000. The value is priceless.

And we’re asking you to give them a hand. To help change their outlook. Help them appreciate that there are many people in this world who are worse off than them, who need their help, and that working to help others is the most rewarding thing there is. While they are in Nepal these students will work with YMCA Nepal and Australian Himalayan Trust to undertake small projects with young people – sharing their own earthquake stories, helping with their lessons, painting buildings and removing rocks from fields.

We believe that when they come back they will have a different outlook on their own lives and how they want their own futures to pan out. This is what we mean by breaking the cycle.

What do you say? Will you give a little to help a lot? How much do you think a second chance is worth?

Project HOPE is all about being the change.


THE YMCA has been making a documentary about these young people for a year. The documentary includes the lead up to the Nepal trip, the personal stories of the young people and their families, why some great people and businesses think this important, the trip to Nepal and the post-trip outcomes. This documentary will be released into the international film festival circuit in 2017. All donors will be acknowledged in the documentary credits.

Throughout the journey, we will be putting together a ‘Nepal Mystery Package’. Every supporter of this project will go in the draw to win the mystery box.. please keep an eye on our Facebook page for clues and snippets of what will be included – this will be very special…

Any donors of $100 or more will receive a ticket to the private VIP screening of ‘Project HOPE’ the documentary – which will then be released publicly at International Film Festivals around the world.

The first 500 donors of $50 or more will receive a children’s picture book, ‘Pip Goes to the YMCA’ – a story about adventure and learning for children aged 5 and under. This book was written & published to raise funds for literacy and numeracy training for teens.

Sponsor a student for $10,000 and receive personal updates and post cards from the student while they are in Nepal, and bring your staff team to watch the documentary and talk to the students about their experience. If you provide this level of support the YMCA will want to talk to you about how you and/or your staff team can get involved with the journey and the story we are telling on film.



CEO Josie Ogden Schroeder would love to come and speak with your staff about Project HOPE and how together the YMCA and business can make a greater social impact. If this might align with your business’s corporate social responsibility goals please contact Josie at

Thanks to those businesses already supporting us:


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