During the first week of May, future African Impact – Livingstone staff member Martin Hewell embarked on a personal quest to raise money for The Happy Africa Foundation.
Hewell decided to raise money by ‘living below the line’ – eating and drinking for less than £1 per day for five days, not just to raise funds but also awareness of the 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line around the world.
“I bought my food in bulk at the start of my challenge and bought basic foods that have as much nutritional value as possible as that it is sustainable and a good representation of the issues faced by millions around the world,” explained Hewell. “I spent £4.98 for the full week which included rice, kidney beans, natural yoghurt, chick peas, eggs, beans, porridge, bruised/damaged carrots, potatoes, broccoli and apples; and also 2 small off-cuts of cake from the bakery!”
For five days Hewell kept his supporters involved in his efforts by posting regularly on Facebook and updating them on his progress. He mentioned being constantly hungry, tired, low in energy and experienced headaches. He noted that living on such a small amount gave him a deeper understanding of how hard it would be for children around the world to concentrate in school without having a healthy breakfast.
By the end of the five days, Hewell had lost 8lbs in weight, but called the experience “eye opening.”
“It has been difficult,” said Hewell, “But it is nothing compared to the vast inequality of this global issue and compared to the 1.2 billion people that live below the poverty line every day.”
He noted in his final Facebook post that although he came close to experiencing what many do on a daily basis, he still did not have to fetch water to cook his food, cook for a family, rely on the weather to determine what he ate, and his challenge only lasted five days when for many it’s a daily reality.
“We are very lucky,” he said. “You can live on a budget a lot less than you think. But we dont because we choose not to. Not everyone has that choice. We are a lot luckier than we think. Appreciate it and enjoy it!”
Martin’s fundraising page will stay open for a while even though he’s now done his challenge. You can support him there.