Living Below the Line

This week my friends and I are living on $2 a day to raise money and awareness for people living in extreme poverty. The funds raised during this time go to providing education and skills training to those most in need.

For more information visit

$2 a day

Our fundraiser

To launch our week of living below the line, we organised a ‘cook-off’. All participants were required to produce a ‘brunch’ item that cost less than $10 and used 10 ingredients or fewer.

We had 17 contestants and 3 amazing guest judges, including Masterchef favourite, Amina El-Shafei and author and lawyer, Randa Abdel-fattah and a guest judge from the audience, Ben!

Audience members were also able to sample food made by our contestants and they seemed delighted with this arrangement.

We embarrassed ourselves in the lead up to the event and produced a video explaining why we had chosen to take part. Apparently I was the only person who didn’t know this was NOT a serious task.

Check it out here.

If you’re impressed by our ability to document our crazy side (or in my case, camera shy side. I know who’d have thunk it? Don’t worry, I don’t get it either) then please support us by donating here.

We collected over $900 at the cook off, had a blast and raised much needed awareness of the struggle of people living in poverty.

If you’re curious to see how our ‘cook-off’ went, you can check out the short video put together by Moby, here.

The challenge

On Sunday, I also shopped for our challenge and $8.18 later, had this to show for it

LBL supply

I had to visit 5 different supermarkets/shops within a 20km radius (I don’t really know what a 20km radius would be to tell you the truth. But it did take me close to 20 mins to get to the furthest place and I’m going off the one km = one min equation that I just made up) a luxury that those living in poverty do not have.

Day one was actually pretty easy but it was a bit cold and I would have LOVED (yes capitals are necessary) a chai latte, or 12. Today, I’m already sick of my pasta for lunch and I can’t say I’m looking forward to eating soup (again) for dinner.

I have a set menu for the week. Breakfast is 2 eggs and Lebanese bread. Lunch is 100g of pasta with 1/5 of a can of canned tomatoes for the sauce.

LBL Pasta

Dinner is a serving of soup but to be fair, the 500g makes SO MUCH SOUP! It could probably feed two people for a week.

But that’s far more luxurious than it sounds because I don’t actually like the soup. I had to use frozen veggies which have peas and cauliflower in them. I don’t eat peas or cauliflower so it’s quite the problem. One I tried to convince myself was not going to be a problem. But it is. It really really is.

LBL soup

Then I have the apples as snacks. But what I really want is a chocolate bar. Nay I’d like to swim in a chocolate fountain.

I think the most difficult thing is the lack of variety and flavour. You’re eating purely for sustenance and as a M A S S I V E foodie, I’m struggling with this already.

I am really aware of how much sugar I normally have in my diet. What I’d give for a jam filled doughnut or a red velvet cupcake!

Today I’ve also been craving fresh produce. An avocado, cherry tomatoes and some balsamic vinegar on a piece of multigrain bread would be an ideal snack right now.

I’ll keep you posted with my progress. We’ve started a ‘Whatsapp’ support group to keep us going over the week and so far everyone is doing really well, but like me, craving sweets!

If I haven’t pulled at your heartstrings enough, then please remember that I am a PhD candidate nearing submission, with a thesis that is going nowhere and this week I can’t even go on a chocolate binge to cure my woes. You can’t offer me a hug so offer me $10 of your hard earned cash instead. It’s not going to me though… it’s going to those who genuinely need it! And education is such a wonderful gift.