Did you know that there are 1.4 billion people suffering at the moment? It is easy to dismiss because you don’t know these people personally – they are not your mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, cousin or colleagues. But well, imagine if they were.
Their stomachs are growling, they have no money, they have no Medicare to cover the bill if they need to pop in to the local doctor – even having a local doctor is a stretch considering education is so sparse that going to school to study medicine is a luxury that they cannot afford.
These people are living below an extreme poverty line.
Extreme poverty means living on or less than $1.25 U.S per day (This is the equivalent to $2 AUD).
This $2 per day has to cover education, housing, health, transport and food.
I don’t really spend a lot in my day-to-day living. I am a university student, I have to be frugal but I can tell you now, that I would eat $2 per day in chocolate alone.
To be frank, the thought of a world without chocolate is frightening, but I am thankfully fortunate enough that I could even entertain such an indulgence.
Last year I took part in a challenge called Live Below The Line. It is a global campaign to combat extreme poverty. You will spend no more than $2 per day on food for five days straight. You cannot accept food from your generous friends, you can use the food that you already have as long as it fairly equates no more than $2 in that daily budget. This is to help those gain an understanding of what other people are going through not just for five days, but every day.
You gain sponsorships from friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers if you can, somewhat like a fun run. The money that you gain in donations goes toward the root of the problem in places that need our help.
This year the money is going toward education in Papa New Guinea.
According to Live Below The Line’s site,
PNG [Papa New Guinea] is the poorest country in the Asia-Pacific region. Years of political instability and tribal conflict have broken down the country’s basic infrastructure, especially in rural areas. This means that young people in PNG face a severe lack of access to education and can’t gain the skills necessary to find a job.
This begs the question; is eating $2 worth of food per day even possible? I wondered that last year and contemplated the challenge for a week before I accepted the challenge. I bought oats, a loaf of bread, some vegetables, jelly, instant noodles, tinned fruit, a bag of rice, 6 eggs, lentils and a tiny sachet of spices all for $9.89.
It isn’t easy, but it is do-able. By partaking in this challenge you will be able to gain just a tiny glimpse of what extreme poverty might feel like.
So, If you know of anyone who is taking part in this challenge, try to sponsor them, not to just support them but rather to support those who are in need – but if you cannot do this financially, then I implore you and challenge you to take part in it yourself this year along with me and hundreds of others!
Because of global awareness, extreme poverty has dropped from 52% to 25% since 1985 – lets keep that moving!
Live Below The Line begins on May 7th and ends May 11th. To join this campaign click here.
Jessica Teni is based in the Gippsland region of Victoria and is currently undertaking a degree in Journalism. She has a passion for social issues and aspires to promote topical discussion.