There never really is any hope for the kids at Hailsham but they still hold onto it because some people allow them to like Miss Emily the gaurdian. The students and veterans are happier at the Cottages because they have the idea that they can apply for deferrals if they wish but really that was just a rumor that Miss Emily let go on ("It’s something for them to dream about, a little fantasy" pg 258). She understands that the kids have no hope in reality and that their lives are set for them unless they make a run for it which they wont do because they still trust and have hope in their hearts. Miss Emily wants them to be happy up until they have to donate their organs and if that makes them happy so be it.
Ruth still has hope that one day she will be with Tommy and she tries to keep Kathy away from him even though Kathy and Tommy are together. All three students are clones at Hailsham and yet they still have feelings and still act how normal kids would act. Holding onto hope for small things like this and also big things like someday being free from Hailsham. It lets the kids live a somewhat normal life and it also lets them be happy. Just imagining that one day it could really change and be how they want it to be ("I suppose it was mainly us newcomers who talked about