Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Preparing To Live Below The Line

1.4 billion people around the world live below the poverty line, every day.

I have signed up to Live Below The Line next week, meaning a budget of just $2 per day on food, for 5 days, to experience the experience of those around the world stuck in such a poverty trap. A glimpse into the difficulties of getting through the day and week with meticulous planning to ensure you don’t run out of food, and also manage to feed yourself enough to get through everyday tasks!

I have been inspired by Kelly-Louise to join her on this challenge. She always has a project on the go, many of which are part of the Eat So They Can campaign, and her work in Africa. I have joined her team, and so our funds raised go to the GVN International. This fund will help support education, mentoring and scholarships for youth to work on their leadership skills.

Lots of people have commented when I have told them that I am doing the challenge that I am just returning to the experience of uni days. But being broke whilst at university is not the same as experiencing actual extreme poverty. Going to uni implies that you have hope of a better day, when you have finished. You also have people around you that you can turn to for a loan, or for assistance, be it fellow students or the university student support services. Actual pervasive poverty is a cycle that people rarely find a way out of, nor the hope and strength to do so. Without a helping hand from those more fortunate, there are not many paths out of such a dire situation, with ensuing health and housing concurrent issues compounding an already stressful mode of living.

I certainly ran out of money at the end of most months when I was living and working in London, but that was a lifestyle choice. I was paid monthly, and promptly planned at least one, maybe two, weekends away to explore a new European city. The end of the month was very, very lean, and I employed all sorts of strategies to get me through to the next payday. But again, this experience was rewarded with those amazing trips – not something someone living below the poverty line has to look forward to.

I appreciate how lucky I am, with my ability to earn, to fall into casual employment, to have collected my education, and to have managed to travel so extensively. I don’t know if I fully appreciate how hard living on around $2 per day is. That insight is something that this challenge can give me – even if it is just for 5 days.

I am just going to follow one of the menu plans from the Australian Live Below The Line website, which actually looks ok. I did ponder whether it is actually better than my average meal-for-one week if I don’t have any social plans…hmmm. I think the hardest thing for me, really, will be that coffee won’t fit within my $10 budget for the week. Even though coffee and tea is provided at my current workplace, within the rules of the challenge any such consumption still needs to be accounted for within the budget – and so that just won’t fit. I cannot imagine working without coffee in my system, and I already feel sorry for the work colleagues who sit with me in my pod! I am also working at a workplace that has impromptu morning teas for all sorts of fun reasons, so this will also be a challenge to resist during next week! Oh, and no buying treats on the way home from work, like I did tonight!

So I have set myself this challenge – I hope I don’t lapse and cheat! Please donate to my page, so that I am not tempted by that coffee at work, and I feel a sense of obligation to maintain the strict menu plan for the week!

I plan to drop some progress notes over on my LBTL page, as well as Instagramming some of my meals along the way, to show you what this challenge means on a day to day, meal to meal basis. I will also give you an update here about how I am going with it! Wish me luck!

(Image credits - Stoffers Group and Halogen)


  1. Well done on signing up to this! I checked out the me us - they look doable. Good luck! Though writing it here will keep you accountable ;)

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I think they look ol...it will be portion size that will be the challenge I guess, and being hungry, without snacking as an option!

      I think blogging and broadcasting will keep me honest. Plus, I am a terrible liar....actually, I cannot lie. Boo! Ha!

  2. I don't think I've ever have to live on so little. I'm very lucky. The other thing that uni students have is a parent to bail them out if things get really tough. Most of us had the option of going back home or asking Mum or Dad for a loan.

    Have you scaled back your coffee drinking this week in preparation? You're going to have the biggest headache next week. That's definitely going to be the hardest bit.

    1. So true, my parents bailed me out many a times! And Mum still does sometimes, when I need it! Bless her!

      Hmmm, was trying to wean myself off my coffee consumption, but then just couldn't do it to myself! I will just suffer through it next week!
      To be fair, I had much less coffee when I was travelling earlier this year...surely that will help. Although then I was not stuck at a desk staring at a computer screen!

      Thanks heaps Jess, and Andrew and Evie for my first donation for Live Below The Line! Love you!


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