Why I Join Live Below the Line?
I believe all of us have heard this problem before through all kinds of channels, the Internet, TV, Facebook, Twitter, from your friends or even seeing themselves from guys on the street.
But why I join this programme?, at first I heard this challenge from my friend, Clair Pitchford. Live Below the Line, it’s a challenge where you have to
spend under 1 pound a day for 5 days and you raise money for the needy. Why £1? The short version is that you will be under extreme poverty if you only have $1.25 to spend in one day, more information can be found here.
I’m from Thailand. Thailand is not a poor country after all, compare to India, Africa or other third-world countries. But we do have a hugh gap between the rich and the poor. I don’t come from a poor background but my family struggled quite a bit when I was a child. Sometime we didn’t have enough food and a lot of debt to pay. I was too young to remember any of those hard times.
Now I work in the UK, my life is better and I have a reasonably good job. Plus, I travel a lot I have been to many countries around Europe and Asia. I have seen and met a lot of rough sleepers. Some of them are legit, but some of them they just want to buy some drink. One time, I got stopped by a homeless asking for 50p to buy a beer, I thought he was honest so I gave him 50p. Some of them told me a lot of story how poor they are, kids and lot of stuff so they can get some money. Sometime I feel sorry for those people, I’m sure you have asked this question yourself sometime as well. But we also have to accept the reality that we cannot help those people with just a few pennies. Even though we have lots and lots of organisations trying to help those people, we still have poverty, malnutrition children and people who don’t have access to clean water. So what can we do?
However, we have some good news as well.
For the past years, I have worked with 2 organisations in Thailand and in India. Goodwill Thailand, the organisation helps disadvantaged women in Thailand by educating them and training them. I know this organisation through my friend, she has worked with this organisation before so I joined later.
What I did was that I volunteered just 2 hours of my weekend time to teach them English and how to use computer. English course in Thailand is quite expensive and not everybody can afford the course. Just this it will help them to get a better job and better quality of life. If they can just make a simple conversation in English they can work as a receptionist in a hotel instead of a cleaner (Apologises, I don’t mean to be disrespectful about any professions). Or they can be a baby sitter for expats in Bangkok which they will get paid more than minimum average. The minimum wage in Thailand is 10 dollars a day.
The second organisation is Sukrupa. This organisations helps deprived children in Bangalore by giving them education and even helping their parents. The programme is initiated by Krupa which I had a chance to know when when I was in Bangalore for a six-week training from ThoughtWorks. We were bought in to help them develop a website to get more traction on the Internet. So, they can raise more money to help all the children.
Back to Live Below the Line, as I have worked with two organisations I have realised that with my current status the best way to fight this problem is to donate skills and create awareness. If I can help them get back on their feet quickly, then they can help themselves later. If we give them food once they’ve eaten that food, it’s gone. If we teach them to cook the food, they can produce the food for the rest of their life. Also, another reason is that if I can create more awareness so more people know and realise the problem even to the top where powerful people can really make a different.
More video that inspires me.