Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Could You Live on $1.75 a Day?

The Huffington Post: Canada published an article, “Could You Live in Canada on $1.75 a Day?” The title speaks for itself in that it is hard to imagine anyone living on $1.75 a day, yet this is the reality for many in the world. The author of this article, Erin Deviney, lived in Australia for nine months and worked for the Global Poverty Project. Their vision is to live in a word without extreme poverty. The Global Poverty Project utilizes the power of education, communication, advocacy, campaigning, and the media to advance the movement to end extreme poverty in two ways:

Creating change

We know the world’s extreme poor are working hard to fight poverty themselves. At the Global Poverty Project we focus on getting behind their efforts, by mobilizing everyday people to take powerful actions for lasting change.

To this end, since launching in 2008 we have:

• Developed 1.4 Billion Reasons – a ground breaking multimedia presentation that explains the issues that contribute to extreme poverty, and what we can do about them,

• Spoken to more than 100,000 people on three continents about the simple actions they can take to help tackle extreme poverty,

• Launched the international advocacy and fundraising campaign Live Below the Line – engaging more than 20,000 people with the lack of choice inherent in extreme poverty, and raising more than $3 million for anti-poverty initiatives.

• Grown political support for polio eradication and raised more than $118 million for critical vaccination programs through The End of Polio campaign.

1.4 Billion Reasons

The Global Poverty Project team is presenting 1.4 Billion Reasons to communicate the realities of extreme poverty and what everyday people can do to help end this injustice.

The key messages of the presentation are:

  • Extreme poverty and the issues around it are important, urgent and related to me.
  • Our generation can end extreme poverty, and I can play a part in making this happen.
  • To overcome these challenges, it’s got to be a global movement, bringing together people from around the world.
  • It’s not going to be quick or easy, but I am committed to playing my part so we can achieve our global goals.

1.4 Billion Reasons is a thought-provoking multimedia presentation worth watching as it will educate, provide awareness, and demonstrate the challenges of extreme poverty that many who live in underdeveloped, impoverished, and third world countries face daily.  The presentation holds that extreme poverty can be ended within a generation. It outlines success stories and addresses how barriers to development can be overcome.

Erin Deviney lived in Cambodia and Grenada for a few years and continued to witness extreme poverty. When she returned to Toronto, Canada she described one of her biggest challenges was sharing with others what it means to live on $1.75 a day; that this amount was to cover food, housing, medicine, water and education. Think of your own current lifestyle and needs. Any one of us in North America can walk into a coffee shop and very easily spend that $1.75.

She created Live Below the Line. The idea is to to raise awareness, educate, and ask individuals in ‘wealthier’ countries to challenge themselves to take action and focus on what others do not have.

Between April 29th through May 3rd, those living in Canada have the opportunity to sign up for the challenge to ‘Live Below the Line’ and raise funds for four organizations, Cuso International, Spread the Net, Raising the Village and RESULTS Canada.

The challenge?
Spend 5 days feeding yourself with $1.75 a day – the Canadian equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

The reason?
To give a glimpse into the lives of 1.4 billion people who have no choice but to live below the line every day – and who have to make $1.75 cover a lot more than food.

Innovative ideas come from people who are passionate about a particular cause and/or area of interest and want to make a difference in the world. This is a good thing and I hope to see more innovative ideas created to ‘tackle’ the many challenges the world faces today such as: healthcare, access to affordable housing, quality education for all youth, an increase in services for seniors, more research dollars earmarked for cures for chronic and incurable diseases, improving the environment, and reducing pollution. The list is endless, but all it takes is one individual to come up with an innovative idea for change; as a result education, advocacy, and action typically follow.

Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW
SJS Staff Writer in Canada

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