Volume 1, Issue 9 (Originally Published on 30 April 2012)
No coffee. For a week.
How many coffees did you buy yesterday? At least one, right? Probably two, if we’re being honest (4.15pm class slump, anyone?). But assuming that each hit is $3, the law student coffee habit is costing at least $21 in a typical week.
In the eyes of about 1.4 billion people, you just spent over 10 days' worth of money. In a week! On coffee!
Close to a quarter of the world’s population is living below the extreme poverty line – meaning they have just AU$2 a day or less to cover all their daily expenses; housing, education, health care, transport and, crucially, food.
Three daring JD students — Lauren McInnes, Chelsea Driessen and Georgina Wu — have decided that this situation is unacceptable. In order to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the Oaktree Foundation. From 7 – 11 May they will ‘Live Below the Line’ and swap chocolate for lentils, vegetables for flour, and (eep!) coffee for water.
Live Below the Line began in 2010 when two Melbourne housemates, Nick Allardice and Rich Flemming, wanted to create an experience that connected participants with the 1.4 billion people around the world who live below the extreme poverty line.
Last year 6 500 Australians took the challenge and raised over $1.4m. The campaign has now gone global and is running in England, America and New Zealand.
Lauren watched several of her friends take part in the challenge last year, and although she saw how difficult it could be, she was inspired to see if she could achieve the same this year. “I felt like it would be a fantastic opportunity for just one person to be able to raise awareness for a global issue, in a way that seems achievable and at the same time challenging. Plus, I'm looking forward to having an excellent excuse if my lecture asks me why my attention is waning yet again in Legal Ethics for a week.”
“It’s important that we remember our degree is not the only thing that can help people,” says Chelsea. “I mean, of course we will benefit the community with our legal prowess one day, but Live Below the Line is the perfect example of the smallest sacrifice making the biggest difference.”
Celia Boyd, Project Manager of Live Below the Line says, “Last year, the money raised funded an incredible project to reduce street violence in East Timor. This year we aim to raise $2m to provide thousands of young people with access to education, including building one of the first disability schools in Papua New Guinea.”
How are fundraisers feeling about the challenge they’re facing? “I am absolutely petrified that I will run out of money and food before the end,” says Georgina. “However, for me, this is only a problem for a few days. It is a reminder to myself to be thankful and grateful about my life. I hope this inspires more people to think about how much they have and appreciate how lucky we are”.
To support the girls as they go hungry, please visit
www.livebelowtheline.com/team/mls — or to challenge yourself, why not join them?