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Reflections

Lily Below the Line

Hello! My name is Lily, and this year was my first time doing the 5 day Live Below the Line challenge.

I’m relatively new to Oaktree, having only been volunteering for around two months as a graphic designer. Prior to challenge week, I had been working on graphics for the Live Below the Line social media accounts. As it turns out, drawing funny little cartoon vegetables was a very different experience to the reality of eating on $2 a day.

I went into the challenge feeling rather confident as I enjoy cooking. However most of my meal ideas didn’t turn out as great as planned, as I didn’t have the budget to buy oil, salt and sugar, which I had been taking for granted up until then. It turns out when you swap out every ingredient with oats and water, it starts to taste like oats and water. Who knew?

What really helped me stay positive during the week was going into the Oaktree office, where they organized fun activities related to the challenge. It made me feel like I was part of a community, which people who are actually living below the line may not have access to. Receiving donations also made it easier for me to stay motivated.

Since food is eaten at least three times a day, it really gave me time to reflect on how difficult it is for people both in Australia and overseas who live like this for extended periods of time. I was always aware of the issue, but doing this challenge really helped me to put it into perspective.

In terms of fundraising, my expectations were initially low, setting my goal at the minimum. How- ever, my friends and classmates surprised me and I have now raised $370 and counting. So give fundraising a go, the results may be unexpectedly good!

Overall by experiencing first-hand a significantly less severe version of life below the poverty line, it was a great way to raise awareness and funds with the help of a supportive community. If you are reading this and still contemplating on doing the challenge, I encourage you to write a shopping list and get stuck into it right now! It’s not too late and you’ll find it to be ultimately a rewarding experience.