Living below the lineHome » Blog » Lynda Brendish » Living below the line
Lynda Brendish contemplates a week of living on $2.25 of food a day to understand living below the extreme poverty line.
I'm not sure what I'm dreading more: the lack of food, or the lack of caffeine.
Why would I be facing a lack of either? Because I'm taking on the Live Below The Line challenge next week, and it requires me to live on just $2.25 of food and drink every day for five days.
As a flat-white-every-morning kinda girl, this poses a big problem.
As it does for anyone who has to spend time around me next week.
But even though I'm starting to wonder what I've got myself into, there are a few thoughts I'll be relying on to keep me motivated throughout the hazy, caffeine-free days:
- 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty already live below the line and they don't get to stop doing so after five days.
- The $2.25 those people live on, has to cover more than just food - it has to cover doctors fees, school fees, clothing, bills and more.
- The generosity of my friends and family. Thanks to them - some of whom I've only kept up with on Facebook - I've already surpassed my initial fundraising target of $325, and set a new one of $500.
And most importantly, I think we really can make a dent in the problem of world hunger. I never used to think that way; I assumed the problem was just too large, insurmountable even. But that's just not true. Not only is there already enough food in the world to adequately feed everyone alive but, until the global financial crisis hit in 2008, we were actually making headway and lowering the number of people going hungry.
Indeed, the World Food Programme calls hunger the world's most solvable problem.
No scientific breakthroughs are needed to solve hunger. The knowledge, tools and policies that we have in the world today, combined with political will, can solve this problem.
So I feel like raising money to tackle this problem is the least I can do, even if it means going without a flat white or five.
The great thing is, there are eight non-profits you can choose to support through Live Below The Line, and all tackle the problem of world hunger in some way. It was a no-brainer for me to choose Oxfam to support with this challenge. Besides being my employer , I support the way the organisation works to tackle the root causes of poverty and hunger.
And as for the immediate problem of figuring out what the eff I can actually eat and drink next week? Well, luckily there's this handy recipe book from Live Below The Line, and this one from Tearfund (pdf) to help get me started. But if anyone has any recipe ideas, please (no, seriously, please) let me know!
So while, yes, I'm kinda freaking out about how I'll get through next week, I know I'll be ok. I know why I'm doing this.
Check out my fundraising page at livebelowtheline.com/me/lynbren