Next week, from April 29th through May 5th, the Global Poverty Project is hosting the Live Below the Line Challenge. What line? The poverty line. Yeah. The extreme one.
One dollar. Fifty cents. A day.
That’s what you get. And before somebody chimes in with ‘That’ll get you a long way in a developing country!’ note that the figure is already adjusted. $1.50 represents the extreme poverty line in the United States. In a developing country you might be talking about the literal equivalent of pennies a day.
And we can’t even really recreate that situation. The challenge is to live for a week spending no more than $7.50 on food. The 1.4 billion people across the world living every week at or below that level have to stretch it to cover everything. So quick! Turn off your computer! Your phone! Lock your house and car up for the week and throw away the keys!
Those not caught in such a situation may never be able to grasp what it really means. How can we? What we can get is a glimpse into the lives of others. Walk a mile, or eat a meal, whatever, in their shoes. And remember, this isn’t just a problem in the slums of developing countries. Look around the next time you walk through downtown Seattle. Or any US city for that matter. Odds are you’ll see someone for whom everyday is spent living below the line.
Food for thought. But not a lot of food. Remember, you only have fifty cents per meal.
If you want to join in click here. Celebrities are getting in on the act too! Ben Affleck is in on the act! I don’t even like Ben Affleck, but hey. Bonus points for supporting a good cause, raising awareness, all that jazz.
Reading this blog too late? Already blew your weekly budget on a Starbucks tall half-skinny quad shot caramel drizzle frappuccino? It’s alright. We won’t hold it against you. Start tomorrow. Start next week. Or just think really hard about it. We’re raising awareness right?
Got any ideas for living below the line next week? Let us know in the comments.
David Wilson graduated from the University of Texas in 2006. Since then he has gone wherever the wind blows him, living in Europe, China, and the States, and traveling extensively throughout the rest of the world. When he’s not on the move, you can find him obsessing over latte art, playing piano, or trying to bleach his hair in the sunshine. Follow him on Twitter.