Claremont McKenna College alum Chris Temple and three of his close college friends wanted to see what it was like to live like a large population of the world – in extreme poverty and despair. Coming from more privileged American backgrounds and with strong educational and professional understandings of economic development, they wanted to see the other side and experience the strife and struggle that billions of people experience on a daily basis. In their own words, they wanted to “understand what needs existed on the ground”.
The four young gentlemen came up with a plan: they’d move down to Guatemala for eight weeks one summer and commit themselves to spending just $1 a day – just $56 in eight weeks, (which was essentially the norm for the community in which they lived) – which would have to cover living, food, and any other amenities they might need along the way. And they’d bring their cameras and inspired determination with them.
Their goal that summer was to use their cameras and the magical tools of social media to share with the world what they themselves saw firsthand. With the ultimate aspiration to inspire more people to get involved in ending extreme poverty through supporting micro-finance initiatives around the globe, they embarked on a journey that would last much longer than just that one summer.
After living in a mud hut in severe squalor and filth for those eight weeks (and after experiencing a whole slew of bacterial infections, digestive problems, weight loss, and an all-around struggle they never knew before), these men were changed. They couldn’t believe what they had just gone through; but what’s more, they couldn’t believe that what they had just gone through was just another day in the life of much of the population of the world. Literally living on one dollar per day – or less. Their work couldn’t end there.
Upon their return to California, they ramped up the blog they had kept throughout the summer to what is now a huge project and a full-time job. With the aim to inform and inspire others about world poverty and to urge the supporting of micro-finance worldwide, these four young gentlemen maintain a website and multiple social media platforms in order to enlighten and engage others, especially those around their own age. They want more people to be aware of just how much poverty there is in this world and just how bad it can be, and they want to offer ways to contribute.
Right now, they are just about to finish a Facebook initiative in which an anonymous donor has agreed to donate up to $4,000 according to “likes” on Facebook. The way it works is that each new “like” of their Facebook page since the launching of the initiative will equal one dollar from the donor. The aim is to raise money but also to grow Living On One’s online presence with the overarching goal of raising awareness about their cause in general. It’s a week-long initiative with only a couple of days left, and thus far they’ve reached about a third of what they’re hoping to achieve by the end of the seven-days. Their Facebook page, and more information on this initiative, can be found at www.facebook.com/LivingOnOne.
These young men may be only four people but they have the passion and determination of many, many more. They know that they “cannot solve world poverty alone”, but they also know that they can “use the skills [they] have, where [they] are, to make a difference”. And that’s exactly what they are doing.
Check out their official website at www.LivingOnOne.org.