Students Experience Poverty to Raise Awareness
College students in Melbourne, Australia recognize the need to address the global issue of extreme poverty. They went about raising awareness in a unique way. Pairing up with the Live Below the Line Campaign, students immersed themselves in the struggle, feeding themselves on two dollars a day for five days.

Hoping to experience extreme poverty first hand, students created personal budget plans for their week below the poverty line. They purchased fruit, vegetables, lentil, pasta, and rice with their budget. Some students pooled their money together to help buy items in bulk.

University of Melbourne Professor Rob Moodie found the Live Below the Line campaign was a great opportunity for students to connect to the issue of global poverty on a personal level. “Life in Australia for the average university student is incredibly different for someone living on less than two dollars a day, and any learning we can do is beneficial,” Moodie said.

So what were the results of the student’s hardships? National awareness and significant donations. Overall, the University of Melbourne raised over $24,000 for world hunger, the most in Australia

The Live Below the Line Campaign takes place annually from May 6th to May 10th in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Australia has raised over 2 million dollars with the cause. For more information, visit

– William Norris

Source: The Age,Live Below the Line
Photo: Bromford Group

Live Below the Poverty Line

Recently, students at the University of Melbourne in Australia spent five days on less than two Australian dollars a day in order to raise awareness for those living in extreme poverty.

Students participated in this as part of the Live Below the Line challenge, a program of the Global Poverty Project.  The Global Poverty Project is in organization designed to advocate for the world’s poor and get citizens effectively engaged in the fight to end extreme poverty.  Their Live Below the Line Challenge, which spans three continents, asks participants to spend five days living below the poverty line in an effort to show solidarity with the world’s poor and to raise money and awareness for their cause.

The challenge of the Live Below the Line campaign is effectively budgeting resources so that participants have the food to last themselves 5 days.  Participants are not allowed to take snacks from their pantries or consume anything that had been bought before the challenge unless it was factored into their five day budget.  Their diet consisted mainly of pasta, lentils, fruit, and rice for the duration of the challenge, and they were only allowed to drink tap water.

The students at the University of Melbourne raised over $24,000, which is more than any other Australian university.  The closest American university to raising this amount was the University of Notre Dame, raising only $3,239.  Some celebrities are also involved in the Live Below the Line challenge, ranging from Ben Affleck to Hugh Jackman.

This was an impressive achievement for these Australian students.  However, as hard as it seems to buy food on such a low budget, participants still had it better off than the world’s poor.  They had access to shelter, sanitation, and healthcare—things that most of those living below the poverty line do not have.   It is hard for us in the developed world to imagine the amount of hardship faced by the world’s poor, but the Live Below the Line challenge gives a small peek into the lives of the least fortunate.

Citizens interested in the program should go to where there are further descriptions of the program, recipes and other helpful resources.  The website also contains leaderboards so that participants can see what individuals or groups have achieved the most fundraising so far.  The question that the challenge poses to all of us in the developing world is obvious:  Can YOU Live Below the Line?

– Martin Drake

Source: Live Below the Line, The Age
Photo: VSO