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Lords, Ladies and Bishops to live like paupers in aid of world's poor

February 16 2012 - Members of the House of Lords are to join with up to 20,000 people and spend a week eating and drinking on £1 a day as an act of solidarity with those living below the poverty line around the world.

The Bishop of Oxford joined fellow peers at the launch of Live Below the Line in the House of Lords last week.

The campaign, designed to raise awareness and money for those barely able to feed themselves and their families, will see participants spending just a pound a day on food and drink from May 7-11.

John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford, said Christians had a responsibility to tackle injustice.

‘We should be reminding people that in our worldwide family many people are suffering in a way that from a God’s eye view must be absolutely outrageous,’ he said.

‘The church is always where people are suffering. The church is very strong in Africa and increasingly so in other parts of the world and so it has experience of poverty at first hand. 

‘This is exactly the kind of issue the church should be highlighting with our global reach. The idea of Live Below the Line is such a simple one yet is symbolically powerful and therefore a really good one for Christians to get involved with.’

Also at the launch was Lords Speaker Baroness D’Souza who, like the Bishop, will be taking part in Live Below the Line for the first time this year.

She said: ‘One cannot help but be struck by what a huge discrepancy there is between our lives at home and people around the world.

‘There can’t be many of us that are not profoundly touched by the sight of meal time at the end of the day and lots of children with large eyes sitting around the table watching what to us would be such an incredibly meagre meal.

‘They don’t grab, they wait patiently for a tiny ration and it brings tears to ones eyes imagining what it would be like to be a parent and not to be able to supply one’s children with food. 

‘I think this is something all of us should try in order to get a glimmer of understanding of what it must be like.’

Bishop John added that he was looking forward to the experience but was a little nervous about what was to come: ‘As one who is always game for creative ways of raising awareness of the quite horrific inequalities in our world I was happy to get involved – or at least I am at the moment.  I expect it’s going to be quite a challenge.’

For those up for the challenge, recipe suggestions and tips on how to get the most from their budget, can be found at www.livebelowtheline.com/uk-christianaid.

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If you would like further information please contact Joe Ware on 0207 523 2418 or jware @christian-aid.org.


Notes to Editors:

Live Below the Line is an initiative of The Global Poverty Project – a global awareness raising organisation committed to battling extreme poverty. Live below the line currently takes place in three countries – the UK, the USA, and Australia. It challenges people to live below the poverty line for 5 days each year, and use their experiences to create conversations and raise awareness of the issue of extreme poverty.

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk