COULD you live on £1 a day? That’s the question being posed by charity worker Charlotte Dando, a former Rastrick High School student, who is backing a campaign to highlight the plight of people facing poverty and hunger.
Charlotte, aged 27, spent a week living on a budget of £1 a day for all her food and drink to draw attention to the Live Below the Line initiative. She is now hoping that people in her home town of Brighouse will take up the challenge and be sponsored to join the campaign from May 7 to 11.
“Living on £1 a day is the daily reality for 1.4 billion people around the world who are forced to survive below the poverty line,” said Charlotte.
She was joined in the challenge by her husband Jonathan, who also went to Rastrick High School, and her fellow worker Usman Nawaz, originally from Rochdale.
Charlotte, a Quaker, and Usman, a Muslim, are working at Malaria No More UK in London as part of a year-long fellowship to unite people of different faiths in tackling global issues such as malaria.
In 2011 more than 10,000 people around the world were sponsored to ‘live below the line’, raising more than £1 million. This year the plan is for more than 5,000 people in the UK alone to take up the challenge.
Charlotte, nee Binns, said: “For a week it was a bit of fun but there was not a lot of choice in what we ate and we had to watch every penny. We ate a lot of potato and onion-based meals.
“We didn’t go hungry exactly but we couldn’t rush out and buy a bar of chocolate whenever we wanted one either! Of course lack of choice and lack of freedom are a daily reality for people all over the world.”
After studying at Greenhead College, Huddersfield, Charlotte spent six months on a volunteer placement at a children’s development centre in Uganda where she gained a deeper understanding of the problems caused by poverty and disease.
“Malaria is a very preventable disease yet it still causes such misery. In Africa malaria is the main cause of poverty and costs the African economy £8 billion a year - yet a simple mosquito net costs just £5,” she said.
“Many faith communities are familiar with the concept of fasting but I think that Live Below the Line will offer a whole new experience,” said Charlotte who also attended St Joseph’s Primary School in Brighouse.
Charlotte’s top tips for surviving on £1 a day:
l Involve your friends so that you buy in bulk.
l Shop around for cheap deals on rice, pasta and produce.
l Plan meals before going shopping and avoid impulse buys.
l Frozen vegetables are often good value for money.
l Make a pot of tea instead of using one tea bag per cup. Drinking black tea will save even more pennies.
l Remember it’s only five days - there are 1.4 billion people in the world with no choice.