More than three billion people live on less that NZ$2.50 a day, and for one month, so did Epsom resident Urvashi Singh.
The Auckland University student spent 30 days during July and August on a food budget of just $2.25 a day to raise awareness for Live Below the Line, a campaign challenging people to get a taste of life in a developing country.
The campaign takes place from September 24 to 28.
"I thought if I can do it for a month, anyone can do it for five days," she says.
For one month she lived off sparse meals such as oats and water, a slice of bread or noodles.
"If I had any money left over, I might add an egg to my noodles at dinner."
Ms Singh, 20, had done the five-day challenge last year and was determined to step things up when she became project manager for the P3 Foundation's initiative to raise money for the campaign.
The P3 Foundation is a non-profit organisation that strives to empower youth to help end extreme poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Last year it was just another fundraiser for me - it didn't mean that much. But this year, as project manager for P3, I'm actually going to Kalimpong, the village in India where the funds will be going.
"It feels a lot more personal, the fact that I get to see where the money's going really means a lot."
She says doing the challenge for such a long time helped her realise how fortunate she is.
"I'd done it for five days but living below the poverty line for 30 days is something else. The biggest thing was realising how lucky we are in New Zealand and how we take food for granted."
Live Below the Line campaign manager Patrick Rose says Ms Singh's decision to take the challenge for a full month is inspirational.
"Live Below the Line seems to bring out the best in people and Urvashi's commitment is a perfect example."
Mr Rose hopes Ms Singh's effort will inspire others.
"Hopefully this will lead to a sustained commitment to tackling the difficult questions."
The campaign also aims to raise money by encouraging people to sponsor participants.
So far, the P3 Foundation has more than 100 people signed up and has raised a total of more than $14,000.
"It's not even challenge week yet," Ms Singh says. "But that's already more than half of what we raised in total last year."
The Glenn Family Foundation, founded by Owen Glenn, has agreed to double whatever the foundation raises.
Donations can be made by visiting livebelowtheline.com/nz-donate.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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