By Daisy Lola
Live Below The Line is a non-profit charity organisation which aims to raise awareness of the poverty that millions of people live with every day. Participants from across the globe undertake the challenge of eating off a budget of $2 per day, for five days. During this time they raise not only money, but an understanding of the reality struggles previously unknown to themselves and their communities.
UQ student Hannah Fuller has witnessed worldwide poverty first hand, working with outreach programs in Australia as well as travelling through Borneo. Having a strong sense of justice throughout her life, hearing about Live Below The Line pushed Hannah into taking direct action in her day-to-day life.
“The hardest part,” she explains, “was attempting to eat nutritional food whilst remaining within the limitation of a $10/week budget. It’s easy to meet the guidelines just by eating carbohydrates, but far more difficult to do so and maintain a healthy diet.”
Nutritional concerns are a common theme when speaking to Live Below The Line participants, which begs the question, how can we strive for a healthy, disease-free world when so many of us live under such harsh conditions?
Hannah stresses the importance of being conscious of our decisions at all times, and aware of how our personal footprint can impact upon those experiencing poverty both throughout the world and on our own doorsteps.
“I know that sometimes we feel so small, like the world’s issues are too big for individuals to change whatsoever. But it’s not true. Through campaigns like Live Below The Line, we can have a direct impact on those less fortunate than ourselves and help to end the poverty cycle.”
Economics student Calum Hendry is so passionate about making a difference, he accepted a job with the Oaktree Foundation, who run Live Below The Line. He stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people throughout the week in order to keep inspiration and energy levels to a maximum. What means so much to Calum about this fundraiser is the empathy channel it opens;
“I understand that LBL is by no means a true representation of what it’s like to live below the poverty line. However, the idea that I would be able to feel more of a connection at any level towards people who are suffering below that line meant a lot to me.”
Calum’s role within the foundation is to co-ordinate the challenge amongst the UQ colleges. This year, they raised over $23,000.
Living off rice, stewed apples, bean soup and lentils for a week may not sound super appealing to the typical privileged Brisbanite, but five days out of our lives may change the course of an impoverished person’s forever.
“It’s not too late to get involved,” enthuses Calum, “You can donate to the campaign or individuals on the website, or even take the challenge yourself in June.”
It seems to be Brisbane’s youth that are championing this cause, and good for them! No longer do we see apathetic teenagers unwilling to put themselves out there or try new things – conversely, they’re the game changers when it comes to truly making a difference in the world they intend to grow old in.
Live Below The Line (www.livebelowtheline.com.au) is an astonishing opportunity for Australians to check their privilege and gather a deeper understanding of what living under the poverty line truly means.
When I have a daughter, I am going to teach her how to scream at the top of her lungs; she will know the power of her voice from the time she can form a sentence, but she will never scream without reason. I will teach my daughter that we do not kick and scream and yell unless we want someone to run – either towards us or away from. Yelling is a sign of danger, and we use it fucking wisely, my princess.