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Frome woman lives on £1 a day

AFROMEwoman recently spent a week living on £1 a day, to raise money for a charity which tackles international poverty. 

Ann Burgess took part in the ‘Live Below the Line’ campaign and spent just £1 a day on food and drink for a period of five days.

1.4 billion people are forced to live on less than £1 a day, and although Ann successfully completed the challenge, she says it has made her aware of the ‘truly disabling’ nature of poverty. She also used the challenge to raise money for Christian Aid, an organisation which works globally to tackle poverty.

Ann said, “The Live Below the Line website advised it was helpful to plan ahead, and so I began by making a list of cheap foods, and went with paper and pen to price them at a good value shop (actually Lidl).

“My planning involved making lists of what I thought I had to have to survive the experiment; Fairtrade teabags work out at just under 2p each, and as many a student knows, you can get more than one mug of tea out of a teabag!

“You need carbohydrate to give some energy (rice was brilliant at 40p a kilo and porridge oats at 39p a pack) and protein (lentils only 95p for 500 grams) but for variety I’d included some split peas (88p from the wholefood shop in Cheap Street). I wasn’t going to starve!

“What about my 5-a-day? Five British beetroot for 44p would come in handy and, maybe best bargain of all, a bag of bruised bananas from SK Fruits for 60p. And so it went on. It really helps to do your own cooking, because it’s cheaper than processed food. There were good recipes on the Live Below The Line website (baked bean curry at 36p a serving etc). A calculator came in handy for working out what a dessertspoon of cooking oil costs if you knew the price of a bottle.

“Well, I did it and survived to tell the tale. After five days of small rations I felt tired and had really lost the spring in my step. It dawned on me that poverty is truly disabling. There might not have been masses of solid food in my five days, but there was an abundance of food for thought.

“Firstly, the whole exercise of trying to experience the same thing as the 1.4billion people who really live on less than a pound a day was pretty artificial. In Frome we’ve got a big range of reasonable shops with food available cheaply, and so much choice. Also thank God for clean tap water! Taking part in the whole exercise was a matter of choice, which it certainly isn’t for those 1.4billion. According to the Christian Aid website 870 million people are in desperate need of food.”

Christian Aid week ran from 12-18th May this year, and Ann encourages people to continue to give generously.

To find out more about Live Below The line, please visit www.livebelowtheline. com/uk-christianaid

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