Between the 2nd and the 6th of May 2011, I will be living below the line with £1 per day on food and drink.
My daily coffee, the odd bar of chocolate, dinner or drinks out with friends will be completely impossible.
1.4 billion reasons why….
1.4 billion people have no choice but to live like this every day – and have to make £1 cover a lot more than food.
Think about that figure – 1.4 BILLION – that’s over 20 times the population of the UK – living every day in the most abject poverty.
“It’s not that bad,” you might say – “£1 goes a lot further in developing countries”. – Unfortunately not. The £1 figure represents the amount someone living in extreme poverty in the UK would have to live on.
And for people who live in extreme poverty that £1 has to cover far more than food and drink – we’re talking everything – health, housing, transport, food, education… It’s impossible to imagine, but it’s the incomprehensible reality for an incredible number of people.
Live Below the Line is an incredible new awareness and fundraising campaign that’s making a huge difference in the fight against extreme poverty.
Quite simply, it allows thousands of people in the Global North to better understand the daily challenges faced by those trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty, and builds a movement of passionate people willing and able to make a meaningful difference for those who need it most.
The week of Live Below the Line is a week like no other. From 2-6 May, thousands of people across the UK and around the world will spend just £1 each day on food, and use their daily experiences to bring extreme poverty to the centre of conversation in homes and workplaces. We’ll all be challenged, we’ll struggle to make that one pound stretch just a little further., and have a faint feeling of being not quite full for the whole week.
In August 2011 I spent a month in the Ghana, West Africa. During my time in Ghana, I worked in a remote village in the Eastern Volta Region. The children I met in my time there were living in poverty, many of them in extreme poverty. There were many moments of sadness and frustration. Seeing the extent of the poverty and the lack of resources was shocking and also seeing the skewed priorities. Young children took on the roles of main care-giver for their siblings while the parents struggled to work the land and make enough money for their family to eat that evening. One little girl, Beverly, arrived at the school one morning with her older sister, Idem. Idem looks after Beverly while their parents both work on the farm and in the market. Beverly was looking very tired and weary, and we went to check if she was ok. Upon touching her we found she had a sky-high fever and was really quite sick. We asked Idem how long she had been like this, and Idem told us that it had been for a few days, but mum and dad could not afford to buy the medicine that the doctor said she needed. We later went to see the dad and he told us that he had earned enough that day, but it was medicine or food and they would always choose the food. We asked how much the medicine was, and found it was not even a couple of pounds. The very fact that they were making the choice between eating or helping their baby to get better. How can we stand by?
Gandhi said that “Poverty is the worst form of violence” – and we couldn’t agree more. But it can be so hard to know how best to respond. That’s where Live Below the Line comes in.
You can visit my Live Below The Line fundraising page by clicking this link:
If you want to read more about my time in Ghana, you can read my blog from that time: