Hey Kiwis! Take Up the ‘Live Below the Line’ Challenge this August!
by Will Watterson
For 5 days in August, thousands of people across New Zealand will spend just $2.25 each day on food, and use their daily experiences to bring extreme poverty to the centre of conversation in homes and workplaces.
When I returned from a trip to a Burmese refugee camp in 2001, I knew my life was fundamentally changed. It was no longer just coffee (fairtrade organic) that got me up in the morning, but a passion to see a world free from poverty… one where human beings flourished.
In my ten years in community work I’ve been constantly blown away by the power that everyday people have to bend their natural creativity and passion towards fundamentally changing the world around them. There’s something special too about Kiwi ingenuity… that wonderful neighbourlyness that we are so well known for around the world.
As Director of the Global Poverty Project here in New Zealand, I’d always dreamed of finding a way that Kiwis could engage with bigger issues like poverty in a way that moved them to focus on the positive.. what is working, what can be achieved, and how we can be part of the solution. It’s not surpsing then that this week in one of the most exciting weeks of my life to date!
The reason I’m excited is that we’ved just launched our flagship campaign, Live Below The Line (LBL). Quite simply, LBL allows thousands of people in New Zealand to better understand the daily challenges faced by those trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty, and builds a movement of passionate people willing and able to make a meaningful difference for those who need it most.
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The week of Live Below the Line is a week like no other. For 5 days in August, thousands of people across New Zealand will spend just $2.25 each day on food, and use their daily experiences to bring extreme poverty to the centre of conversation in homes and workplaces. We’ll all be challenged, we’ll struggle without caffeine, and have a faint feeling of being not quite full for the whole week. We’ll pool money with housemates, colleagues or family to make that $2.25 stretch just a little further! Money raised by participants through sponsorship gets directed to whichever one of the participating charities lights them up the most.
What excites me about LBL is not just that it will be a whole lot of fun (read: biggest flat budgeting mission EVER) but that it demonstrates what I believe is the future of the charitable sector – moving away from a ‘silo’ mentality into a spirit of working together. For LBL this year, five different aid organisations have come together under a common banner to offer a fun and education way of engaging with an issue that is usually a bit of a ‘downer’ for most of us. If that isn’t good news, I don’t know what is.
If you’d like to get involved in Live Below The Line, simply visit www.livebelowtheline.co.nz and sign up to get involved!”
- Will Watterson is the NZ Country Director for the Global Poverty Project, and the Campaign Manager for Live Below The Line NZ
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