Living in solidarity with the poor
15 May 2015 | Blog | Supporter action | Project Compassion
"From the start of Ash Wednesday I started to live below the poverty line." Leo Taylor is an inspiring young man who is in Year 8 at school and lives in Port Pirie, SA. For the whole duration of Lent, Leo spent only $10 a week on food and drink, in order to experience just a little bit of what it would be like to live in poverty.
On the 26th January, Leo already began to think about ideas for what he was going to do for Lent this year. The idea of living in solidarity with people in poverty caught his attention. It’s estimated that people who live in extreme poverty survive on less than $2 a day, so Leo decided to set himself the challenge of spending only $10 a week on food and drink throughout the whole duration of Lent.
In addition to personally living out this experience, he also decided to use this opportunity to fundraise for Project Compassion. "From the start of Ash Wednesday I started to live below the poverty line and I also set up an online fundraising page for Project Compassion."
"Over the first and second week, I had learnt what 'hungry' really means," said Leo. "It isn't that you just ate and you want more food. It is that you haven't eaten in a while.
"For the first weeks I ate rice, toast and some fruit and vegetables… On some days I may not have had breakfast, recess and lunch… In the last few weeks I ate a sausage in bread with a bit of sauce and dry biscuits.
“I lived below the poverty line for five days a week excluding the weekends. I was lucky I got the weekends off because the poor people live in poverty every single day and hour."
Leo’s dedication to this challenge inspired those around him. He quickly reached his fundraising target of $500, and by the end of Lent, sponsors had donated over $1,067 for Project Compassion. "With this money, Caritas is able to provide a five-day training course for 10-15 people, so they can learn to raise and sell fish in Nepal, or provide a tray of seedlings for farmers to grow in Fiji," said Leo.
"Living below the poverty line was really hard and I got tempted just like Jesus did while he was fasting in the desert for 40 days and nights. This was a huge challenge and without my sponsors I couldn't have done this, I encourage anyone to try it and have a go."
Well done Leo for completing this challenge throughout Lent, and for being such a wonderful inspiration to us all!
Find out more about Project Compassion and donate at www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion
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