Sunday, 26 April 2015

Live Below The Line: An Introduction

I signed up to Live Below The Line on a whim about six months ago, and promptly forgot about it. It's easy to do, isn't it? I guess that's half of why running a marathon is so impressive - aside from the running bit, there's months of preparation that go into it. I am not a runner. Marathons are not for me. But something involving food, and a challenge which I knew I'd find difficult in my own way? More my kind of thing.

My memory was jogged a couple of weeks ago when a letter thanking me for signing up came through the post, along with a leaflet about Unicef which made me cry. After the recent pictures from Nepal, of the horrific earthquake, my mind was made up. No backing out.

So - what is Live Below The Line?

It's pretty simple - participants have £5 to spend on 5 days worth of food and drink. It's up to them how they spend it, but that's all they get.

Where did it come from?

Two Australian charity workers came up with the idea in 2009. They gave it a go after a discussion about how difficult it was to explain their jobs when they lived in an affluent society - "we decided to be crazy, we took on the challenge for three weeks in September and documented our experiences. Friends who had never shown an interest in our work were suddenly engaged... living below the line created a window into the world of extreme poverty." Since then over 30,000 people worldwide have taken part, and over £7million has been raised.

Why £1 a day?

The World Bank classifies extreme poverty as living off less than the equivalent of £1 a day - we're talking food, drink, medicines, housing, and education, all for less than £1.
1.2 billion people in the world, around 20%, are classed as living in "extreme poverty". For context, that is more than the populations of the European Union, The USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Canada combined.

Who are you fundraising for? 

I picked Unicef (United Nations Children's Fund), because they work worldwide in areas which need help urgently. They've recently been in Syria, Nigeria and Yemen, and are now in Kathmandu, supporting survivors of the earthquake. Despite their links with the United Nations, Unicef don't receive a penny from them, and they operate wholly on donations.
Put more simply - a child dies of malnutrition every 15 seconds, and Unicef provides 80% of the world's emergency food.

What are you eating?

This lot...

...which cost me a total of £4.45. The remaining money is going to be "spent" on 10 green tea bags (19p), 2tsp of dried mixed herbs (14p), 6tsp of soy sauce (11p), and 30ml of vegetable oil (5p). I've worked myself out a meal plan, which I'll post with an update on how I found the challenge.

I have no doubt that I'm going to find this tough. I'm so used to grabbing something from the fridge when I want a snack. I can't do that this week.

If you can - please sponsor me:



  1. You rock - I know a few folk from my home town who do this every year and it is really hard and quite powerful x

    1. Thank you! Day 1 and it's already tough...! x

  2. Wow, what a challenge! Good luck dude x