Devon Cooper took part in the Live Below the Line challenge, you can find out more about the campaign and donate here.
During my time Living Below the Line, I experienced an overwhelming amount of support. Not just from friends, family and colleagues, but from the Live Below The Line community too. From donations, motivational words and shared experiences, everyone encouraged me to continue and reminded me how important it is for young people to be part of the solution to end global poverty.
So, imagine my shock when a colleague of mine was less than enthusiastic about my challenge. It was someones birthday in the office and doughnuts were being shared. My colleague asked if I’d like one, I declined, explaining I was living on £1 a day for 5 days for all food and drink.
‘What are you doing that for?’ he asked.
I explained how the campaign raises awareness and funds to help end extreme poverty by 2030.
‘Well that’s a nice idea.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘It’s a nice idea that there will be no poverty by then, but of course it will still exist.’
Really? Those are your words of encouragement? How pessimistic! If we all had that attitude nothing would ever be achieved. It took me a moment to compose my response. I wasn’t immediately sure how to react to his negativity.
I chose to state the facts:
‘Since 1990 the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has been reduced from 43% to 21% in 2010, even when taking into account population growth. To reduce extreme global poverty to 3% by 2030, we need a 1% decrease each year, which has actually been achieved each year since 1980.’
Not only did I dispel his negativity, but I reminded myself how much campaigns such as Live Below The Line can achieve, and how much impact Restless Development’s tremendous work has. Not everyone is going to believe it’s possible, but that doesn’t matter. Extreme poverty can be eliminated in our lifetime if people try, if people believe, if people work together, and show their support in any little way they can.