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This is how a mother taught her son about extreme poverty.

Deanna Djuric

By DEANNA DJURIC

I think the hardest part about Day 1 of the Live Below the Line challenge was being sick. Having three kids to chase after and not being able to access the glorious, golden lemons in the pantry for a hot lemon honey with a Panadol really brought home the reality of living below the poverty line.

We really take so much for granted and don’t appreciate the little things.

As I was feeling unwell, I made the potato soup from one of the meal plans provided on the campaign’s website. I was craving the broth and it did help at lunch. So, I decided to make it again for dinner with my other potato, however, this meant that I had used up my quota of potatoes for the week.

At dinner, my husband and I began to explain to the kids why mummy was eating something else for dinner and not the same as everyone else. We tried to explain the concept to our kids (almost 6, 4 and almost 2) of sacrificing tasty food to raise awareness and funds for the 1.2 billion people experiencing extreme poverty.

During the course of the conversation, we saw the light come on for our almost 6 year old. My husband was explaining how as I had already eaten my two potatoes today, I would not be able to have any more potatoes this week. He looked shocked and immediately responded, “Well, go buy another one then.” But that’s the point. 1.2 billion people just can’t go down the shop and buy another one whenever they want.

When the realisation took hold of my son, his eyes welled up with tears, but he didn’t cry. He wept. I had to hold him as he wept for about 30 minutes. He asked if I could eat grapes this week and I replied, ‘no’. He wept. I had to reassure him that I was going to be alright, because I had decided to sacrifice these things for 5 days only, to raise money and to grow my love for others more.

I was deeply touched by his concern for me. I kept trying to redirect it to the 1.2 billion I am doing this challenge for. It was evident that he ‘got it’.

I was so sorry that I had burst his childish bubble and broken his heart by this cold, hard reality. Nevertheless, I used it as an opportunity to pass the baton.

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Marsia, a 17 year old East Timorese girl whose education was possible because of funds raised through Live Below the Line.

I kept whispering in his ears, “This is why you were born. For others. To help others. You want to be a scientist. Be a scientist for others. We can change the world, we just need to grow our love for others and be creative in how we love them.”

The best time to plant seeds is when the soil has been broken.

So, Day 1 of LBL has given me an incredible and priceless gift that will make all the hunger pangs that I might experience during these five days be meaningless.

The gift of passing the baton to my son.

May he start a fire that will not easily be quenched.

Let’s end extreme poverty.

Hailing from Adelaide, SA, Deanna is a mother to three and a musician. Although full time in every role she tackles, Deanna does occasionally stop to dream. Oh, and eat chocolate.

This week, from 5 – 9 May 2014, thousands of Australians are eating on just $2 a day for five days – the equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

It’s a window into the day-to-day lives of the 1.2 billion people worldwide living below this line. And a challenge to raise funds to combat extreme poverty.

Since its inception in 2010, Live Below the Line has raised over $6 million for anti-poverty initiatives.

In 2013 alone, more than 8,500 Australians took part in the challenge, and with the help of more than 51,000 sponsors helped raise more than $2 million. This money went towards supporting education projects in Cambodia and Papua New Guinea, providing scholarships, board, learning materials and teacher training for hundreds of young men and women.

Live Below the Line is run by Oaktree, which is the largest youth-led development organisation in Australia, run exclusively by volunteers between the ages of 16-26.

Visit the Live Below the Line website

Visit Deanna’s page.

Please share this post to help raise awareness for those 1.2 billion people worldwide living below the line.

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