This is probably one of, if not the most important post I will have written while I have had it.
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Throughout my life, well recent life, I have supported a variety of charities in a variety of different ways. I find Charity to be one of the greatest things you can part-take in. It feels good to give something, be it time, effort, money, services, to someone of something that needs it more, and of course, they benefit in addition to you.
Last year, I noticed a campaign called Live Below The Line. I stumbled across it on twitter as UNICEF, Luke Windsor, and Tom Hiddleston all attempted to bring attention and garner support for the campaign. Coming off the back of a difficult lent promise, I decided I would look into it and give it a go.
Live Below the Line is an annual anti-poverty campaign, which challenges participants to feed themselves on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for five days. The goal of Live Below the Line is to raise widespread awareness by enabling participants to gain a small insight into the hardships faced by those that live in extreme poverty. Live Below the Line also raises money for poverty reduction projects across the globe
Last year, the poverty line meant I lived for a week in April on just £5. That is just £1 a day for all my food and drink. It’s really not a lot, let me tell you, and I quickly realised that cutting down to two meals a day, and drinking tap water only was the sole way to succeed in the challenge. I tried to eat proper meals and a balanced diet where I could, and avoid the ‘it’s only 5 days so I can survive on rubbish’ trap that some people fall into when they do a challenge like this. It meant a lot of beans in canned tomatoes, soup, bread, and hunger.
I won’t say it was a great experience, I would have much preferred to live and eat normally for the week. I also didn’t suffer, as those in poverty often do, and as a result, never felt the true affects of poverty. The pain and suffering as hunger and its side effects kicked in was definitely present, but that was the extent of my problems that week.
It really opened my eyes to the problems that poverty causes. I know poverty often means hunger, malnutrition, homelessness, amongst other horrifically unpleasant ordeals, but to experience just a fraction of it was a deeply upsetting and humbling experience.
Last year, I raised next to no money, and as disappointing as that was, I realise taking part, raising awareness, and donating my time, money and effort, can be as useful. This year, I am starting early, rather than jumping on this (brilliant, inspiring, worthwhile) bandwagon. I am going to do the challenge early, and try to capture my experience through pictures, words, and maybe even video. I want to share how hard this plight can be for people, and hopefully inspire people to donate, and take part.
This year is also a little difficult because I live in Thailand. £1 goes an awful lot further in Thailand than it ever did in the UK, so it will be interesting to experience the affects of living below the poverty line in different countries, and to see how far that money actually goes.
There are many people and organisations without whom this project would not be possible. I urge you to look at there websites, follow their blogs and vlogs, absorb their words, and think about taking part yourself.