Editorial: Fight to stay below the line

By Kristin Macfarlane


Ignorance, at times, can be bliss. Every day I eat when I'm hungry and usually eat whatever it is that I'm craving at the time.

I don't have a set budget for food and groceries each week (even though I should) and I buy a flat white with a caramel shot most mornings.

This seems snooty to me, knowing there are many people who don't have these luxuries.

There are 1.4 billion living every day in extreme poverty and this is the reason I decided to accept the Live Below the Line challenge.

Live Below the Line is an awareness and fundraising campaign which is fighting against extreme poverty.

As part of the campaign, people are challenged to spend five days feeding themselves with $2.25 a day, which is the New Zealand equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

The challenge runs between September 24-28.

It's to give people a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day - and who have to make $2.25 cover a lot more than food.

Before day one started, I ignorantly thought the challenge would be easy. It wasn't until yesterday arrived that it actually hit me that my daily coffee ritual wouldn't happen and, if I was running late for work, I couldn't pop to a shop to get lunch and I'd just have to go without.

However, it's only five days and while it gives me a taste of how those in poverty live, it's nothing like what they have to go through every day of their lives.

If those living in poverty are hungry, they stay hungry - they don't have the choice.

Already the campaign has done its job.

I am now more aware of the problem and, while I'm taking part in the challenge, I'm also raising money for World Vision in a bid to help stop such extreme poverty.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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