A group of Wadham students will be living below the poverty line next week to raise money for the Child Poverty Action Group.
The initiative, part of the international Live Below the Line campaign, challenges participants to live on £1 per day for five days – below the International Extreme Poverty line as defined by the World Bank. The Wadhamites will also be unable to accept free food and drink from other students.
25 students have so far signed up to participate in the challenge, starting on Monday of 6th week.
At the time of writing the team has raised almost £80 and is aiming to raise more. As part of the attempt, the team are giving up chocomilk, a famous beverage provided in the college’s SU (equivalent to a JCR).
Their JustGiving page said the team were also giving up “college meals of courgettes and chips”, and were pledging they would have “no alcohol and no coffee”.
“We know you’re going to miss our presence in the refectory, Hall and lurking by the JCR coffee machine everyday – we’ll be the ones sitting quiet and hungry in the corner. So PLEASE GIVE VERY GENEROUSLY,” it said.
Jahni Emmanuel, Wadham’s Charities, Ethics and Environment Officer, is co-ordinating the initiative. She commented: “Live Below the Line is a great campaign for raising both money and awareness so I’m really excited that so many Wadham students have volunteered to take part”.
Emmanuel is no novice to Live Below the Line, having raised more than £1,600 completing the challenge herself: “I did LBTL on my own for the whole of November so hopefully will be able to help the team with some veteran experience of grim and lonely meals!”
“It will definitely be a challenge for all of us, but doing it as a group should make the whole thing a bit more bearable”.
Wadham SU is also supporting the students, funding badges to raise awareness of the campaign.
Anya Metzer, Wadham SU President who is also taking part in the event, said: “Live Below the Line is a fantastic initiative to raise awareness and funds for food poverty. I hope lots of people will get involved by sponsoring the students who are giving up tasty food and drink in an effort to bring about change”.
The students are aiming to raise a total of £1,000 for CPAG. Wadham student Jay Bassan said: “I’m personally taking part mainly because I want to help raise awareness – it’s easy to forget people in the UK live on such a tiny amount, especially in such an extravagant setting as Oxford”.
Tim Nichols, spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “We’re very grateful to the students of Wadham College for their support for our work. The challenge of surviving for £5 for 5 days for all your food is the kind of situation that more and more families have found themselves facing in recent years”.
“Child Poverty Action Group is fighting to protect all low income families and ensure every child has a decent warm home, a healthy diet and a fair chance in life.” The charity is working towards the goal of ending child poverty by 2020.
Friends of the team left good luck messages on the JustGiving page alongside their donations. One said: “So so impressed. Good luck guys”.
Wadham’s effort follows a similar initiative at Brasenose last May, involving 11 students.
Donations to the Wadham team can be made at: www.justgiving.com/WadhamLivesBelowTheLine