Hugh Jackman is challenging people in the UK to live off £1 a day for five days.
Hollywood actor, Jackman’s pledge comes as he fronts a charity campaign urging as many people as possible to take up the challenge to raise awareness of the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty globally.
Consider the price of a coffee these days and living on just £1 sounds like a stretch, but he believes it will get people thinking, and talking about it, which is the objective.
“I’ve been to Ethiopia and Cambodia, I’ve seen first-hand the difficulties people have but also how empowering it is when people get out of poverty,” he said.
“I went to Cambodia and was shown some micro-financing projects. I’ll never forget seeing a group of women getting their first loan of £300 to start their own textile business. A woman had tears running down her face because it represented a chance for her to get out of a cycle of poverty
that had affected her family for generations. It’s a lack of opportunity, not a lack of hard work.”
The campaign Live Below The Line, run by the Global Poverty Project, runs from May 2 to May 6.
Despite critics questioning whether the campaign will have any noticeable affect, Jackman is convinced it will raise awareness among governments and individuals.
He said: “There are three major pillars for change, aid – protecting foreign aid at government level, trade and battling corruption.”
He added: “I believe in investing in foreign aid morally but, even from a practical standpoint, we’re (Western and third-world countries) are interlinked in so many ways – trade, health and the environment.”
Jackman is aware of the cynics. Who is he, a wealthy celebrity, to be challenging people to live on the breadline?
He said: “Being in movies I have things given to me, clothes and luxuries.
“I’m fully aware that I live in this weird sort of bubble that is not realistic and I struggle with that question everyday.
“But I’m not coming at this as a celebrity. I’m coming at it as a 42-year-old man who met this team and just wanted to get on board. They’re not asking for money, they’re asking people to activated and do something.”
But the actor argues you cannot point the finger at the rich and famous without examining your own lifestyle first and that in comparison to the developed world, most people in the UK, America and Australia have “unbelievable luxuries”.
He believes most celebrities support charities for the right reasons, not because it is fashionable.
“Everyone wants to do something. I’ve worked with actors let’s say Travolta, Halle Berry, Meg Ryan you have no idea of the generosity of these people what they give.
“Look at Paul Newman he’s given away £100m in this incredible company.
“There’s a lot of philanthropy – some behind the scenes, some like people to know about it. To each their own.”