Live Below the Line, a success

14 May 2012

Written by: Julia McDonald

Live Below the Line began in 2010 to raise awareness about global poverty. Over 1.4 billion people live on just $2 per day,or less, to feed themselves and their families. By participating in the challenge, contributors will feed themselves for five days on only $2 per day, or $10 for the week. They can raise funds to contribute to the Oaktree Foundation initiatives to build schools in rural areas of the world.  Live Below the Line Australia has raised $1,631,439 collectively, thus far.

La Trobe University student, Katrina Thomson took part in living below the line and doubled her goal in fundraising to nearly $500 7 May to 11 May. Her live account of the days, her sponsors and her reason for the cause can all be found on her page. It’s not too late, donations are still being accepted!

What were your overall impressions of last week and living on just 2 dollars a day?

It’s been a real eye-opener. Just to see how millions of people are living like this, eating the same food everyday and wanting stuff and not being able to get it. Having everyone around you eating food and having yummy meals, it’s so frustrating. I got really sick of pasta after the second day- all I want right now is a fruit salad and some chocolate!

So what have you been eating?

Pasta, pasta, pasta! I traded my pineapple for a loaf of bread and I traded four kiwis for some butter, which made a big difference because I was just eating pasta, so it was so nice to have some toast in the mornings.

Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I definitely would do it again, I think it’s good and I raised a lot of money for the cause. If I did it again I would try and plan actual meals. It was hard when you only have $10. I would shop around before and try harder to convince other people to do it and team up, because it’s so hard to do it by yourself.

How have you been dealing with everyone eating around you?

On Sunday we had inter college football and everyone had maccas [McDonald’s], Subway, crisps and chocolate, and people kept trying to give me food! I kept saying ‘I can’t! I can’t have it.’ Or, being in the kitchen and people are making really nice dishes, so that was the worst. I would make my pasta and hide in my room. After the third day it was so much easier because you could see the end in sight. The first couple of days are the worst.

Did you give in to any of the temptations? Did you cheat at all?

No! Especially since people were donating, I would have felt bad. I actually had to do it now.

What was the hardest part of doing it?

The lack of energy. I was skyping home and was just so tired and weak. I had cheerleading practice, which was probably the toughest part. You had to keep doing the stunts and I was so tired.  I feel very weak in general and I feel really sick whenever I eat because it’s the same thing over and over again.

What was the best part of participating in the challenge?

It was the support that I got. I had so many people from around the world messaging me saying ‘it’s so great that you’re doing this’ or ‘we’re so proud of you.’ To realise that you’ve actually opened up people’s eyes is definitely the best part.

What is the first thing you’re going to eat?

I’m going to have to get a kebab! It killed me being at work! When I left my shift this week my manager said ‘Help yourself to some food’ and I couldn’t!

Due to the success of the challenge the Oaktree Foundation has started a new project in Papua New Guinea, with a video showing those who are being helped by participants living below the line. If you want to Live Below the Line the site will be open until May 30th to sign up to participate. Donations will be accepted until August.

Julia McDonald is completing her Masters of Global Communications at La Trobe University. Follow her on Twitter @Jules_mcdonald.