Poverty action on the menu

By Jessica Elgot, May 18, 2012
Oxford student Asia Lindsay and friend Phil Bull tuck into their £1 dinners

Oxford student Asia Lindsay and friend Phil Bull tuck into their £1 dinners

Choreographer Arlene Phillips is among Jewish anti-poverty campaigners who have spent this week existing on a food budget of £1 or less a day to draw attention to the plight of the world’s poorest people.

Ms Phillips has tweeted about her experience of surviving on cabbage soup, rice, tins of beans and crackers —forgoing her favourite espresso. The former Strictly Come Dancing judge has raised £3,800 in sponsorship for Malaria No More.

Filmmaker Lara Smallman and Oxford University postgraduate student Asia Lindsay also spent five days on the £1 budget — the amount 1.4 billion people worldwide have to exist on.

Ms Smallman, 25, from Hendon, has raised more than £400 for the Positive Women charity, supporting women with HIV in Swaziland. “I didn’t expect it to be this difficult,” she said. “I thought that being Jewish it would be fine to restrict what I ate because we’re used to having rules governing what we can and can’t eat. But by day three my energy had totally gone. The most delicious thing I ate was egg fried rice,
using a quarter of an onion.”

Ms Lindsay, 24, who is completing the challenge with friend Phil Bull, accepted that it could not replicate the lifestyle of those starving in the Third World, but wanted to experience how people in poverty in the UK had
to manage.

“We planned our budget very precisely and went to three different supermarkets to get the best deal. No real family would have time to do that.

“What struck me was how unhealthy everything was. We bought some frozen vegetables and a tin of mushy peas but you can’t buy anything fresh.”

The duo have been raising money for Health Poverty Action and are currently the top of the league of Oxford University participants, having raised £650.

Last updated: 1:02pm, May 18 2012