Living in extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.50 USD a day. Today 1.2 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. The Live Below the Linechallenge encourages people to live for $1.50/day (1.75 CAD/£1) for food and drink for 1 - 5 days during the week of Aril 27 - May 1 2015. Participents raise money through their efforts for an organisation of their choice and use the opportunity to raise awareness of those around the world who live in poverty every single day.
In an amazing interview with NBC News, Global Citizen ambassador and ‘Gotham’ star Erin Richards talked about why she’s living below the line and why she feels so passionate about this cause. You can read an excerpt from the article below.
NBC News: What is the cause you support and why do you support it?
Erin: I recently completed the Live Below the Line challenge to raise awareness for the 1.2 billion people who are living below the extreme poverty line of $1.50 a day. I support this cause because I strongly believe that we can and should eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 (a goal set by The Global Poverty Project, the organization behind Live Below the Lineand the annual Global Citizen Festival, for which I am a Global Citizen Ambassador.)
Q: Why did you decide to take the challenge and what did you learn from the experience?
Erin: I decided to take the challenge because I wanted to understand the lack of choice faced by those who live in extreme poverty. I learned an awful lot about how hard it is day to day to focus and do your work when you don’t have the means to buy nutritious food, or you can’t go out to have a coffee with friends. I felt constantly drained and dejected by the monotonous meals we had to eat, and I learned that it’s very hard for me to get through a day without chocolate!
Q: Why is it important for celebrities to support charities?
Erin: I think that due to the reach of celebrities into popular culture, it’s really important for them to support charities. I think that our generation can sometimes feel helpless in the face of so much suffering in the world. Celebrities can act as a link between people and charities, highlighting the work those charities are doing and inspiring people to feel they can really make a change. That’s why I’m so inspired by The Global Poverty Project. Through its Global Citizen platform, they encourage people to take ‘actions’ on their website (to get concert tickets and prizes), which helps raise awareness and understanding of their campaigns. The Live Below the Line challenge is their annual fundraising campaign that supports dozens of organizations working hard on the ground.
Q: What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?
Erin: Oh my goodness, people do lovely things all the time for me! And I try and do lovely things in return. I really feel like people are so generous and kind. I like little acts of kindness you know, holding doors for people, smiling on the subway, picking up something that someone dropped on the floor...oh I remember a lovely moment...a friend of mine and I were having lunch, we were laughing lots and totally in our own world and at the end of the meal we went to pay and the waitress said that a man had already paid for us. He was just a quiet guy having lunch on his own and he didn’t want anything, just to do a lovely thing. So the next time I was in the same restaurant for lunch, I paid it forward and covered the bill of to two women laughing together, having lunch, like we were. It was a great feeling!
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Erin: I would just like to add that I feel really inspired by the amazing people at The Global Poverty Project who run Live Below the Line. Hearing their CEO Hugh Evans talking about how passionate he is about ending Extreme Poverty by 2030 is so inspiring. They really are a team of people who are making a huge change in this world and I feel privileged to be an ambassador for their cause. More info can be found on their website on their work and events, including the huge Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, New York in September, for which Chris Martin [of the band Coldplay] will serve as a curator.
If Erin's beautiful words have inspired you, join us in taking part in the Live Below the Line challenge. Go to www.livebelowtheline.com to sign up now!