Can five days make a difference? by Hannah Morpeth

Live Below the Line is a fundraising campaign which is involved in the fight against poverty; charity partners include: Christian Aid, Malaria No More UK and Unicef UK. The challenge is simple; feed yourself on only £1 per day for 5 days.

I chose to raise money for Christian Aid, the money I raise will go to helping fight poverty in countries like Sierra Leone, a country on the West African coast where most people are living on 80p per day. Despite the fact that the civil war of Sierra Leone ended in 2002, the country is still struggling to reform as unemployment and thus poverty still remain at large in the country.

I struggled with having £1 per day to live on, yet the harsh reality is that around 1.4 billion people in the world are living on only that and often less. I only covered food with £1 a day; I would be able to go home to my fully heated, two-bedroom house and feel safe. I could still shower if I wanted and most importantly attend sixth form, receiving a free education, sadly unlike so many children in poverty stricken countries.

I spent £4.80 of my available £5 (keeping 20p in case of a chocolate emergency) on:

500g pasta
2 jars of pasta sauce
1 box of cereal
1 packet of digestive biscuits
1 loaf of bread
10 cheese slices
2 litres of diet coke
1 litre of pure orange juice

Living below the line made me tired, emotional and generally drained but it was worth it; knowing that somebody out there is depending on the help my money could provide motivated me to keep going. Each day I had an average calorific intake of just over 1000, the average recommended amount for a child aged between two and three and I can’t imagine people in developing countries having anywhere near that amount of calories, given that I felt it necessary to have biscuits and orange juice. This reduced calorie intake resulted in a loss of around two pounds, which may not sound much but it is a considerable amount given the time scale and the fact that I usually have a healthy, balanced diet and that I don’t do any form of manual labour. None of which are common in the lives of people in these developing countries,where people struggle in poverty without a break for their whole lives, not knowing when their next meal will be or where it will come from, and all the while working for pitiful amounts of pay.

So many people told me I was crazy for taking the challenge and that it is impossible, but it’s sadly possible for the 1.4 billion people facing it every day. The strength of people in extreme poverty is somewhat commendable yet horrendous that they should even need such a strength.

Christian Aid provides the education and tools for people in developing countries to help themselves out of extreme poverty. They’re worthy of the £182.10 that I have raised for them. Five days can make a difference to the lives of people you will never meet.

Challenge yourself to Live Below The Line: and change someone’s life!