Live Below the Line…

Facebook and I have an interesting relationship.  14 weeks ago I registered to participate in Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation.  That challenge finishes this Friday.  So not to be left without a challenge or immediate focus in my life, this week I registered to participate in the Live Below the Line challenge.

Before I explain what Live Below the Line is let me tell you why Facebook and I have an interesting relationship.  It is because of friends Facebook status updates that I am lucky enough to be made aware of fantastic opportunities for personal development and to be of service.  More often than not I register or commit to something and fear decides to come for a ride and say ‘oh this will be tough you won’t make it’, but I grow exponentially every time I at the spur of the moment commit myself to fulfil one of these challenges.

So just what is Live Below the Line?

Live Below the Line is a challenge for which you are required to live on AU$2 a day, for 5 days.  Whilst this sounds impossible, 1.4 billion, yes I said billion, people live on under AU$2 a day.  Most people from developed countries will never truly understand what life is like living in such extreme poverty.  We see pictures of children in Ethiopia starving to death on CNN and many think the problem is too big or worse: it’s not my problem.

An individual can make a difference.  It is easy to be overwhelmed by the problem but there are ways to make positive impacts.

Over the years I have traveled and worked in countries where extreme poverty is heart breaking.  These experiences have challenged my thinking and changed who I am.  I am more compassionate and forever grateful for the opportunities and blessings I have as an Australian woman.  When you consider that over 60 times the population of Australia live in the most abject poverty I have no reason not to be extremely grateful for my life.

But what does it mean to live in extreme poverty?  It means having less than AU$2 a day to cover all ones expenses.  Everything from housing, education, health, transport and food.  Now when I decided to do this challenge I worked out that my budget for 5 days was AED 38 @ AED 7.60 a day (I live in Dubai, UAE).  I purchased a snack for AED 30 while researching what I would be able to buy to eat for the week of the challenge.  I just consumed almost 80% of my challenge budget.

Imagine one snack being almost 80% of your budget for ALL your expenses.

When you only have the smallest amount of money to exist on, the priority for spending has to be food.  Foods like maize or rice are the main stables in such an extremely limited diet.  Given the lack of food, health is severely effected but after spending the majority of ones income on food, little is left over for basic medical care let alone other necessities such as education.

Bringing education and life saving medical support to those living in extreme poverty goes an exceptional way to breaking the circle of poverty. So how is ‘Live Below the Line’ making a difference?  It has a multidimensional approach to combating extreme poverty:  raising funds for educational opportunities and widespread awareness of the issue. 

Remember 1.4 BILLION people live in extreme poverty.

For me to do 5 days under AU$2 a day really isn’t that great of a challenge when after I have completed the week I will be able to consume whatever I want.  What will happen though is the money raised and the increased awareness of the problem will make a clear impact on those benefiting from my participating in the challenge.

The money raised goes to the Oaktree Foundation.  One of Australia’s fastest growing and dynamic international development organisations.  If you are not religious, as I am not, don’t let the fact Oaktree is a Christian Organisation deter you from supporting this amazing challenge and cause.   Oaktree believe that education is the key to empowering people to break out of the cycle of extreme poverty.  The funding decision are not based on religion or missionary work rather those project that will be effective and sustainable.

The monies raised tackle extreme poverty where it is most needed: at the source.   

The percentage of the world’s populations living in extreme poverty is falling due to a combined global effort from a horrific 52% to 25%.  This is still an unacceptable percentage of people who have little hope except for the generosity of people like me and you.  The small sacrifice I am making and the discomfort, hunger and redbull withdrawal is but a small bump in my life but a huge step towards breaking the poverty circle.

Due to my working week being Sunday to Thursday I will be commencing my Live Below the Line Challenge on the 06 May and end on the 10 May.  In my next blog I detail my market research and assessing how much each food portion costs to ensure I keep below my limit while still being able to maintain my health.

For more information please log onto the below site and see if you too can make a difference:

Blessed Be

Robyn xox


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