How ironic that I live in one of the worlds most impressive buildings and I am now more socially aware of extreme poverty than ever before. Having visited countries such as Zambia, Nepal and Djibouti and working in Afghanistan, the harsh reality that 1.4 billion people exist on less than AU$2 a day has touched my heart.
It is shocking to realise that a quarter of the world’s population lives below the extreme poverty line. Participating in the Live Below the Line challenge and my travels have changed me more than I could possibly imagine. I had to take a look at my life and see where I could give back. Including my housing, transport, education, health, savings & investments, food and entertainment I live on over AU$100.00 per day. 1.4 billion people have only AU$2 per day to exist.
Less than a week after the Live Below the Line I made my first Kiva loan to Suyunbubu in Kyrgyztan to help her purchase another cow to expand her dairy produce business. Although these are loans, my motive is not about being paid back but rather to give. If the money comes back this is a positive sign that Suyunbubu and those I give loans in the future, that their businesses have expanded.
Each month I will make a loan to another person with education and agriculture being my main two drivers. The reason I have picked education and agriculture are simple; education in my opinion is the key to advancement and my own families background is in agriculture so this touches my heart directly.
The next major step I took was to sponsor a child. A small 4 year old African girl who will greatly benefit from my small donation. I am still internally debating how much more of her life I will share once I receive the sponsor package but I know that one day it is my full intension of visiting her and her family. My French lessons will come in handy as she is from a French speaking nation.
I am still going through my wardrobe and this is perhaps the strangest but most challenging battle for me. I love clothes yet only really wear a small portion so putting the clothes I MIGHT wear in a month, six months perhaps even next year is proving difficult sadly. Day by day I will get through my wardrobe and someone who truly needs and will use the clothes will have them.
I have 8 days till I fly out to Vietnam and for that period I am going to live on AU$240.00. Realising that my daily budget is going to be $30 a day rather than $2 certainly does make for a much more appealing menu as I will be able to purchase more tantalising food to add to my diet for this period. I am going to primarily use the food currently in my cupboard so the budget could probably be much less. I will also be able cover my transport and some entertainment costs with friends which makes a big difference to ones work/life balance.
Don’t let the world change your smile, let your smile change the world!