It all began in 2009 when, over a few beers, two men called Rich Fleming and Nick Allardice discussed the difficulty of communicating the hardship of those living below the poverty line to the public.
The solution? Getting people to try “living under US$1.25 a day”.
An initiative of the Global Poverty Project, Live Below The Line today is an awareness and fundraising campaign that innovatively fights against extreme poverty. Individuals and communities are challenged to see how their view on poverty changes when they attempt to live off a minimal amount (per day, for food) for 5 days.
This year, Live Below the Line 2012 will run simultaneously in the U.S. where participants can spend up to $1.50 per day on food supplies, in the UK where £1 is the budget and Australia where the maximum is AU$2.
Funds are raised through donations or “sponsorships” collected from both participants and the public, for various organizations sharing the cause. 20,000 participants (including Hollywood star Hugh Jackman!) have already signed up to participate and experience a glimpse into the lives of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty.
The rules of the Live Below The Line challenge basically rules out anything beyond the budget – whatever you choose to consume, you are not to exceed the amount in money and in worth, no matter where your food comes from. This includes the little vegetable garden you’ve got out in the back, the leftover pizza left in the fridge and the coffee machine in the office pantry – makes you think twice doesn’t it?
Taking the Live Below the Line challenge is definitely not going to be easy, but who says its impossible. Think about it. Sure, you would have to give up your daily cup of Joe, the gourmet sandwich for lunch, that dessert after dinner, and even bottled water. But your experience will be one that teaches you to be (if not even more) grateful. It will open your eyes, heart and mind, and not to mention – your lifestyle – to the lives of 1.4 billion people.
That’s 1.4 billion reasons to consider giving the Live Below The Line challenge a try or at least supporting it.
Live Below The Line 2012 happens from May 7th – May 12th 2012. Their comprehensive website provides participants (and those who wish to be aware) with a range of materials and guides from 2011 participants to get you started.
We’ve included an awesome video above, produced by Live Below The Line Australia together with Hugh Jackman on the story behind the campaign!
Would you be willing to live below the poverty line for five days, even if it’s not together with the campaign? Tell us why, and how you would go about planning your challenge. Or share your thoughts on Live Below The Line!