Live Below the Line 2011

Written by Grant Mills on . Posted in Charity, Live Below the Line

80% of the world’s population live on less than the equivalent of US$10 a day.

I discovered this statistic a couple of days ago, taken out of a 2008 World Bank Development Report. And the breakdown of these numbers get even more shocking.

Almost half the world’s population live below $2.50 a day, while 40% live below the International Extreme Poverty Line of $2 a day. Think about what you can do with $2 and then consider that 2.6 billion people only have that to survive on. [1]

These stats are based on the theory of Purchasing Price Parity, which suggests that the price of goods in different countries tend to equate under floating exchange rates, so US$1 would have the same purchasing power in the equivalent coinage of another country.

Live Below the Line

This year I’ll be participating in Live Below the Line, for five days in May spending no more than $2 per day on my daily food requirements. Money raised will be going to the Global Poverty Project – a grassroots movement started by two Aussies that proliferates knowledge about extreme poverty to galvanise action – and the Oaktree Foundation. Last year almost half a million dollars was raised.

If you would like to be a part of exceeding last year’s amazing total then you can donate to my team at: http://www.livebelowtheline.org.au/snickelpants

Five days is hardly a suitable period in which to properly experience what it must be like to live in extreme poverty. I can’t predict what is going to be the worst part? The sugar and caffeine comedown headache? Being forced to get over my stubborn dislike of lentils? The gnawing hunger between meals? The simple fact that no matter how many times I put it into – and take it out of – my shopping basket, there is no conceivable way that cheese will fit in my $10 shopping budget for the week…?

I expect to be grumpy, lethargic, and have to walk around the block in order to quash the carnal urge to savage a pack of Barbeque Shapes. By the end of five days I know I will have had enough, after 27 years the luxury of snacking is too ingrained.

So, if you can, please give generously – for the kids whose lives are wracked by malnutrition, for the parents who literally don’t have two coins rub together and for one spoilt man who, for 5 days, is just going to want a kebab…

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