Thank You Thursday: A Taste of Poverty

When was the last time you spent two dollars? Not five dollars but just two. What did you buy? I bet it wasn’t much. You can’t even get a coffee for $2 nowadays, can you?

The average Australian lives on about $94 per day. To be living in extreme poverty in Australia, as defined by the World Bank, you would be living on just $2 per day. That’s $2 every day for food, shelter, health care, education, transport and anything else you might need. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?

What about just living on $2 worth of food a day, forgetting about the cost of your home, clothing and so on. Could you do that?

Live Below the Line is an awareness and fundraising campaign that challenges people in developed countries to feed themselves with the equivalent of the extreme poverty line, to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty.

Live Below the Line is an opportunity to get a small insight into the realities of extreme poverty, whilst also providing you with a meaningful way to make an incredible difference. Like many of the peer to peer campaigns at the moment, Live Below the Line participants raise money by getting donations from friends and family for undertaking the challenge. But the most unique value of this campaign, the way I see it, is the actual challenge itself. It’s eye-opening and life-changing. Participants will really get to understand the luxuries and amazing choice we have in Australia. They will learn first hand that life Down Under should be treated as a privilege, not a right, and hopefully appreciate it more. Hopefully, they will want to make a difference in other areas of the community then too.

This short video explains how it works really well.

The other wonderful thing about this now global campaign is that it started right here in Australia (in Melbourne in fact) and only a few years ago! Rich Fleming from the Global Poverty Project and Nick Allardice from the Oaktree Foundation in Australia were living together in 2009 and had a shared interest in raising awareness about poverty and trying to work our ways to help end it. They tried to live on about $2 a day for a few weeks and were amazed at how much interest their friends and family seemed to take in what they were doing. From there the idea just grew.

This week is is Live Below the Line week all over the world. For those participating in the campaign today marks day four of their five day challenge. Totally amazing! In 2012, the campaign hopes to have 10,000 people participate and raise $2,000,000. This money will go toward building schools in two villages in Papua New Guinea, Yangis and Kumbareta, one of Australia’s poorest neighbours.

A school in Papua New Guinea

This Thank You Thursday the Fish Chick acknowledges campaign founders, Rich Fleming and Nick Allardice, and all those Living Below the Line this week. You truly are making a difference, not just through the money you raise, but through the awareness you’re creating and the personal transformation you are likely to have had.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

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