Living Below the Line for change

13th November 2015

After returning from her Raleigh ICS placement in India, Sian was motivated to raise awareness about food wastage in her home community. In the UK alone, 7 million tonnes of food is binned each year, more than half of which could still be eaten. This is in stark contrast to life in Sian’s host village in India, where food waste is avoided at all costs and left-overs are given to animals. Hoping to change attitudes toward food in her local community, Sian decided to Live Below the Line.

“I decided to take part in this year’s Live Below the Line campaign because I wanted to raise awareness of extreme poverty and hunger around the world. I wanted to shine a light on the 1.2 billion people who live below the poverty line and survive on under £1 a day. In turn, I wanted to change people’s behaviour towards poverty at both a local level and internationally.”

The goal of LBTL is to live on £1 a day for five days.  In preparation, Sian set out with a short shopping list and an airtight budget to prepare for the week. She spent £4.82 on food and managed leave 18p spare for an emergency onion!

“I found the experience quite tough at times – but it was worth it! The five days allowed me to reflect on my usual diet and food consumption, which has made me thankful that I have such a wide choice of food available. It has given me an insight into how poverty determines the quantity and quality of our food, and how this affects our everyday lives.”

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While Sian managed to raise awareness of food wastage among her family and friends, her biggest success came through a surge of food donations to a nearby food bank.  Sian collected 214 items of food from sponsors which she was able to donate to the Carmathen food bank.  What an achievement!

Sian found living below the line to be a humbling experience which she wants to repeat next year.  Her experience in India with Raleigh has reinforced her interest in international development, and we’re proud that Sian is continuing to share her passion for sustainability!

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