Live Below the Line: £1 a day campaign
From the 29th of April to the 3rd of June, sisters studying at Ebrahim College took part in a charity campaign entitled ‘Live below the line’. Aimed at raising awareness of the extreme poverty in which many around the world live in, the campaign challenged participants to live on food of less than £1 per day for 5 days! That’s £1 for your breakfast, lunch and dinner! The initiative was formulated by a range of charity organisations, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike, all working towards a common cause – global alleviation of poverty for billions across the world. And thanks to our supporters we raised well over £800 alhamdulillah to help the cause. Here’s an account of our experience:
Day 0: The shopping spree!
A late night trip to the supermarket found us wracking our brains as to what we could afford with our pooled resources resembling some semblance of a normal diet! Brand name products were out of the window from the outset, and supermarket brands were a much appreciated blessing! But we had the essentials so we were ready and set to go…
Day 1: Mathematical mess!
No one had had breakfast because rations had not been allocated yet. The hunger pangs and crankiness were already rising to the surface, but after some bananas all seemed appeased and ready to take on the first day. Lunchtime was a mathematical mess of calculations; everyone trying to figure out what they could eat within budget and how much they needed to have a decadent dinner later – perhaps a 45p jacket potatoe with cheese and beans or beans on toast!
Day 2: The first casualty!
A second trip to the supermarket was in order and there was a desperate need for some treats. Some were keeping well within budget and others were visibly suffering. Later that night we were to see our first casualty – one of us could not resist the alluring aroma of kebabs and rice! Others mashaAllah were going it alone, surviving on bare necessities and doing it with impressive stamina.
Day 3: Fundraising underway
Under the EC banner, many of us had committed to humble targets to raise money for Made in Europe, a UK based charity led my Muslim young people fighting against global poverty and injustice, and fundraising was well underway. Excitement was also rippling through the participants at the prospect of cornflakes and jam – all at super cheap prices of course! And dinners and breakfasts of milk and cornflakes were gleefully anticipated.
Day 4: We can smell the finish line…and we want to eat it!
The end was clear in sight but our stomachs seemed to have become accustomed to our new diet. The level of gratitude for simple things like jam and cheese was profound. We managed to squeeze in some boiled eggs into the budget and life seemed good Alhamdulillah! The group’s camaraderie and support was strong, and the beautiful sunna of sharing food and thinking of others before you eat was very much alive.
Day 5: Celebrations and congratulations!
The last day had arrived and one sister had kindly offered to make us pasta as a special treat for our final lunch. Once devoured, the countdown to midnight and a late night feast had begun! Oddly enough though, once it came, minds seemed unsettled at the thought of diving into a full meal with all the trimmings. I think the challenge was truly complete.
All fun and enjoyment aside, through this small exercise we were able to get an insight into how 1.4 billion people live every day, and this does not even include the cost of energy, shelter and an entire family! I think I speak for us all when I say it was a truly humbling and thought provoking experience, and a trip to the supermarket will never be the same again. We hope that we were also able to give you a glimpse of the struggles of our brothers and sisters around the world right now, in the 21st century and not very far from home.
By Ebrahim College students