Australia’s largest youth-run campaign, Live Below the Line is encouraging Australians to live below the poverty line so others can rise above it. Since 2010, more than 50,000 Australians have raised more than $10 million for education, and campaigning initiatives that help alleviate poverty.
Local celebrities, Instagrammers and Australians from all walks of life are living on $2 a day during May to experience just one challenge of poverty – hunger.
“A banana and one and half a carrot is by no means a satisfying breakfast – especially without my morning coffee,” says actress Kate Jenkinson, who is taking on the challenge this week.
“But for millions of people around the world, they have no choice what they eat.”
“It doesn’t replicate What it actually feels like to live below the poverty line but it does raise awareness and funds,” explains long-time Ambassador and actress Marny Kennedy.
“I believe that education should be a right not a privilege based on where you were lucky enough to be born.”
The annual event is organised by Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth run not-for profit organisation, dedicated to the eradication of poverty through education campaigns.
“Education is the most powerful tool to tackle the injustice of poverty,” explains Oaktree’s CEO Sashenka Worsman.
“Money raised goes directly to the life changing Work of Oaktree’s partners, who work with developing communities to improve the quality of education by providing teachers, governance training, and resources like libraries and computer labs, as well as support in systemic change that sustains the work that has been done.”
While the average age of Live Below the Line participants ranges from 18 to 25, more school students than ever before are taking the challenge this year. More than a hundred high school students have signed up to be Live Below the Line Student Ambassadors including Langwarren student Alex.
“Young people have the power and ability to implement positive change, and we as Australians often take for granted the freedom we have to challenge ideas and injustices,” he says.
Brownlow Medalist and AFL hero Gavin Wanganeen, his Wife Pippa and their young children are also living below the poverty line for two days this May.
“It has been a real challenge finding healthy, family-friendly food on just $2 a day,” Pippa said.
“The meal plans and recipes at livebelowtheline.com.au are a great resource but we are all still very hungry! Even for two days, it’s been so hard to place limits on the food I provide my family, I can only imagine the ongoing struggle that faces mothers living in poverty everyday.”
Joining the past AFL star and his family is future footy star six-year-old Lilly Brown, Who has become the face of Women’s AFL, appearing in their television commercials, at the Brownlow and a host of online videos that have been viewed by hundreds of thousands.
“I’m living below the line because I know that not everyone has the same opportunities that I do. Sometimes I can’t afford the same toys some of my friends have, or flashy new footy boots. But I have people around me that can help with those things. I know that some people, especially children my own age worry about having enough food, clean water, and somewhere safe to sleep and live. So I know I am actually very lucky.”
“I complain about going to school sometimes,” says Lilly. “But when I get there I love learning and reading. It makes me sad to think there are people that never get to go to school.”
For more information, please visit: www.livebelowtheline.com.au