If you only had $10 to do your groceries for the week, what would you eat? What could you afford?
Two dollars a day is considered the extreme poverty line, the Australian monetary equivalent (taking into account inflation and relative purchasing power) of the amount of money 1.4 billion people survive on every day.
1.4 billion is a number that’s hard to get a grasp on - it’s more than sixty times Australia’s population, but just because it’s hard to imagine doesn’t make it any less real.
This is where Live Below the Line, a challenge to live on $2 of food a day for five days, comes in. Thousands of Australians will be taking on this challenge this May, using it to raise money to fund projects that focus on extreme poverty in our region, but also a small taste and insight into the reality facing those 1.4 billion people. It’s an experience which gives the chance to connect, as well as spread awareness in our communities of the issue of extreme poverty.
Already at least a dozen UNE students have signed up, inspired to do the challenge by the direct impact the fundraising has, and the experience of the challenge itself. UNE’s own global health group, Armidale Students Promoting International Rights and Equality (ASPIRE), will be supporting students as they take on the challenge, helping out with meal ideas and fundraising tips. After all, it’s all very well to be inspired, but exactly how does one go about keeping daily meals under $2? ASPIRE will be producing a support guide to show you what kind of meals and what to expect from the challenge, to provide that extra support. The website also has loads to offer. So if you’re keen for a challenge, to change your perspective on poverty, or to fundraise much needed money to support education, sign up! Last year the campaign raised almost $2 million, which funded a project in Cambodia aiming to increase the quality of education.
On the weekend following Live Below the Line, ASPIRE will also be hosting a number of events in a Maternal Health weekend to be held 10th-12th May. Events include a lunch with David Browning, founder of the Barbara May Foundation (an aid organisation focussed on maternal health in Ethiopia, whom ASPIRE support), an all-hands-on-deck birthing kit morning tea, where everyone from the university is invited to help put together safe birthing kits, a maternal health short course for people who want to learn a little more about global health and maternal health, and practical maternal skills training for medical students. Look out for more info on all of these events in the coming month!
- Gwen Palmer, ASPIRE Vice-President