Living on One Dollar a Day

Nov 18, 2010 by

I’m passionate about civic engagement, social activism, and civic duty. So much so that my entire master’s project revolved around connecting students and youth around the world through shared civic action. The recent summit on the Millennium Development Goals at the U.N. General Assembly meeting this past September opened up a lot of people’s eyes to the plight of the billions of people living in poverty around the world. That’s right, BILLIONS.

That’s a difficult number to imagine, for adults and children alike. As if billions of people living in squalid, poor, and dirty conditions around the globe isn’t hard enough to imagine (people that have to walk more than a kilometer to get clean water), try getting people to conceptualize what it must be like to live under $1 a day is near impossible.

Which is why I’ve always been a huge proponent of presenting difficult concepts in a way that students can relate, something concrete that they can wrap their minds around. Obviously, having our students experiment by building crude shelters in their backyard and living off of what they can gather, trap, or purchase for less than a dollar a day is out of the question. So the next best option for me is showing them a dedicated group of typical American youth trying to live on less than a dollar a day in Guatemala. With the help of the Whole Planet Foundation and Calremont McKenna College, 4 students are doing just that.

These four students created a video documentary of their experience trying to simply exist in Guatemala given limited resources, and tools enough to ensure that they could film everything necessary. And it’s all online for free to view. If YouTube is blocked in your district, please read my “YouTube Unblocked!!!” post, or go get the Easy YouTube Downloader Plugin for Firefox. Below is the first video in the series for you to enjoy.

If you teach Global Issues, Geography, or many of the other social sciences, then this video series is a must for you. Check out the Living on One Dollar a Day channel on YouTube for more information, or pop over to their website to read up on the participant’s experiences via their blogs.

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