Sight-restoring charity asks Kiwis to Live Below the Line
The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ today calls on the New Zealand public to join a host of global and local celebrities and
sign up for the Live Below the Line challenge to support The Foundation’s effort to end avoidable blindness in the
Live Below the Line is a global initiative which aims to build a movement to end the extreme poverty experienced by 1.2
billion people. The experiential challenge has previously attracted the support of major celebrities including Ben
Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Josh Groban and Sophia Bush.
Closer to home, Shortland Street stars Jacqueline Nairn, Sally Martin and Amelia Reid will all live for $2.25 a day for
five days to support The Foundation. High profile gourmet chef Michael Meredith is also backing the challenge and will
spend a day below the poverty line to help highlight the link between extreme poverty and preventable blindness.
For Shortland Street star Jacqueline Nairn, the challenge offers a chance to appreciate how hard it is for people living
in extreme poverty.
“Live Below the Line will be a big dose of perspective and a different way of thinking about budgeting, meals and food
shopping,” Nairn said. “I'll be Living Below the Line and thinking outside the square while trying to raise money for
the extraordinary work The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ does.”
The challenge demands that participants live at the level of extreme poverty for five days and spend only $2.25 a day
for all food and drink. They then ask friends, fans and family to support them and their chosen charity in this
Nairn’s co-star Sally Martin sees the challenge as an opportunity to focus attention on positive solutions and tangible
actions people can take to help others.
“Extreme poverty is an unnecessary global problem,” said Martin. “We truly can make change. I'm taking part in Live
Below the Line to help draw attention to the issue and to experience for myself a teeny fraction of what it is like to
survive on the poverty line.”
For Amelia Reid, a third Shortland Street star backing The Foundation, Live Below the Line is a chance to celebrate the
urgent and achievable work of helping people in under-resourced countries see.
“It only takes $25 to restore someone’s sight with a simple cataract surgery, which is just incredible,” Reid said. “I’m
hoping lots of other Kiwis will join us, so we can restore sight to whole communities of people across the Pacific.”
The Foundation is standing shoulder to shoulder with 21 other anti-poverty organisations to take part in the NZ version
of the Live Below the Line. The initiative runs from the 23-27 September but participants are encouraged to sign up
early, get support and plan their meagre menus. The symbolic act of empathy is part of an international movement to
increase engagement through direct experience of the challenges and hardships of extreme poverty.
“We’re thrilled to have so many familiar faces generously supporting the campaign on our behalf”, said The Foundation’s
Executive Director, Andrew Bell. “We’re touched by their enthusiasm and their efforts to help us end avoidable
blindness. These extraordinary individuals will inspire other Kiwis to get involved.”
An estimated 39 million people globally are blind, and 90% of them live in developing countries. The Foundation’s work
alleviates poverty by restoring sight to the needlessly blind and training local eye health specialists to provide eye
care services in their own communities.
“When you give someone back their sight, you give them back their independence, and reduce the socio-economic burden
placed on families and communities,” said Bell.
Sign up to Live Below the Line today or sponsor someone taking the challenge at livebelowtheline.com/nz-fhf.