So tomorrow morning (I started on Sunday and wrote this on Saturday oops!) I’m starting Live Below the Line, where I live in AUD $2 per day for five days to raise money for and awareness about extreme poverty. It’s such an important cause that’s so close to my heart, I was fortunate enough to be born in a country where my gender or skin colour don’t matter and to have parents had the means to support and encourage my education. The harsh reality is that my story is the story of a minority.
A lack of of education or literacy affects so many. Being literate or having an education lowers maternal and infant mortality rates, it means women get married later and have fewer children, it raises their average income by a significant amount, it gets them into better paid jobs all of which directly impacts their children as well. This is a positive cycle, however, many impoverished children lack the resources to enter it via education. How can you attend school without a uniform? Without trained teachers? Without books? Without weather-proof classrooms? Without breakfast or lunch?
This is where the money I raise goes, into building the foundations necessary for children to receive the education they deserve which will positively impact their whole lives.
Here’s a photo of the food I’ll be living off for the next five days – it’s actually quite a bit and more nutritious than I can usually afford because I’m doing it with a team. Still, it’s definitely not a balanced diet and I guarantee by day 3 I will be so sick of carbs that I’ll no longer be hungry, that’s when things become scary and really make me realise how privileged I am.
This is another reflexion that I wrote during the lead up to Live Below the Line.
Living in Brunei gave me some truly wonderful experiences which definitely shaped who I am today and my motivations for the future.
I spent five years living in the tiny country of Brunei where I was fortunate to travel often to countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam and witness the disparity between how we live in Australia and their lives. However, what struck me most was how happy and generous people were.
Continue reading “Borneo”
Je l’ai écrit comme un examen blanc pour mon cours français. Je ne crois pas que ce soit bon (à la revanche je me sens que c’est merde!), mais, c’est répétition et, avec un peu de chance, un jour je pourrais ressasser et voir à quel point que je venais!
Je se l’est basé sur une histoire vrai que j’ai lu dans un journal.
Continue reading “L’espoin”
I published this on my Live Below the Line Blog about a month ago as a reflexion about how lucky I really am.
I had a bad food today yesterday. Somehow I managed to forget all of my packed food apart from a hot cross bun and my tea (I had packed my breakfast, lunch and snacks). Luckily I live in a city where great food is easily available (though it can be pricey) but ended up spending what is usually my fortnightly chai latte budget on one day’s worth of food. If I’d been doing live below the line (or living below the poverty line due to circumstance or birth) I would have gone hungry for a day. I wouldn’t have been able to have concentrated at work, my volunteer position or on the uni reading I did on my commute.
What I’ll miss most during the challenge are the senseless things that we don’t think about daily and just tap our cards for. However, when I realise that this is a luxury that many, many people could never dream of affording it humbles me and makes me even more driven to be able to see a world that is one day free of extreme poverty.
Live Below the Line is living on AUD$2 per day, for 5 days for all food and drinks (apart from water). It raises money and awareness about extreme poverty. All money raised goes towards educational projects in the Asia-Pacific.
The other day I got a lovely phone call from a Live Below the Line Volunteer thanking me for signing up. One of the first questions they asked me was why I had signed up. Apparently the answer ‘oh I do it every year’ doesn’t cut it. Live Below the Line has become such a yearly even for me that signing up takes very little thought, there’s no option of me NOT doing the challenge.
I do the challenge because I believe so much in the right for children to receive an education. An education counts for so much and can give so many more chances to children living in impoverished situations. However, education is not a simple thing. It takes resources, teachers, willing children (and parents), food to get them through the school day, appropriate clothing, appropriate buildings, access to water and probably a lot more things which I take so much for granted that I don’t consider. I do the challenge because it’s my little way to express my gratitude for a life free of poverty and access to an amazing education which was never threatened due to my socio-economic background, gender or religion. But, most importantly I do the challenge because through educating people about extreme poverty and raising money to ameliorate it.
I’ve let this fall a bit by the wayside which is quite ironic because in these past few weeks I’ve been writing so much but it’s been spread between Facebook, my Live Below the Line Blog and a published article (ohhhh boy!) I’ve finally had some time (or just procrastinated more) to collate everything I’ve written and schedule them into hopefully what is a coherent order. I’ll be posting one article per day and while they may talk about some things in the present or even future (like Live Below the Line), I’ve probably completed them all.
Having spent my childhood growing up in three different countries, all of which had different native languages, I think that multilingual ability is one of the most important abilities that one can have today. Us native English speakers have it easy by being able to fall back on the assumption that English is the lingua-franca of today and therefore, we don’t have to learn any other languages but everyone has to learn English. I find such a mindset offensive as so many languages are directly linked to other aspects of life such as culture and community and by whitewashing languages we are whitewashing years of tradition, culture and linguistic innovation.
To wholly show respect for someone when travelling isn’t to ask in louder and louder English ‘where is the bathroom?!’ but to be able to assimilate to the local culture and langue. Whenever I travel in a country where I don’t speak the native language I try to learn at least simple greetings, numbers and questions to at least try to be mindful of the local culture and traditions. Thanks to this I can count to ten, ask where the bathrooms are and say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in a vast array of languages which is excellent for trivia nights but also gives me the satisfaction of being able to say ‘shukraan’ (شكرا) to a local and seeing their face light up just because I bothered to learn and remember a simple word of thanks. Continue reading “Thoughts on multilingualism”