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Jonah Lomu Wants You to Live Below the Line for UNICEF NZ

Wednesday 15 August 2012, 1:16PM
By UNICEF New Zealand
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Jonah Lomu is getting back in the game, but this time as UNICEF NZ’s team coach for Live Below the Line. Jonah’s challenge to New Zealanders is to spend only $2.25 a day on food and drink for five days – the NZ equivalent of the extreme poverty line.

UNICEF NZ is one of eight charity partners in the 2012 Live Below the Line campaign which will take place from 24-28 September. As well as coaching those who sign up to take part in Live Below the Line for UNICEF NZ, Jonah has also decided to undertake the challenge with his family.

Jonah wants Kiwis to join him in experiencing what extreme poverty feels like for a few days, whilst raising cash for UNICEF NZ’s work. Jonah said, “Five days of living on $2.25 a day is going to be tough, but that’s what life is like every day for 1.4 billion people around the world.

“Right now there are one million kids in West Africa who could starve to death and even in our Pacific backyard up to 40% of children haven’t grown at the right rate because of malnutrition. I want to help UNICEF to lower these numbers.

“So, I decided it wasn’t enough to just be your coach. My family and I need to experience this along with you. So, having checked in with my doctor that it’s ok to do the challenge, I’m now busy planning how my family can get the most from our budget. When I see a challenge I like to tackle it head on. So will you join me in Living Below the Line for UNICEF NZ?”

Funds raised by UNICEF NZ will help support the charity’s work breaking the cycle of poverty and providing better nutrition for children around the world. Dennis McKinlay, Executive Director of UNICEF NZ, who recently returned from the Solomon Islands said, “I was shocked to see how children so close to home are so physically affected by poverty. Sadly 30% of children in the Solomon Islands are suffering from stunted growth because they are malnourished.

“Good nutrition for children is as critical as clean water, but one in four households in the Pacific Islands don’t have enough money for food. Meanwhile a drought has caused a food crisis in the Sahel of West Africa leaving a million children hungry.

“As a UNICEF NZ Ambassador, Jonah was shocked to hear these figures and was instantly moved to get involved with Live Below the Line. It’s a hard task to live on such a little amount for a week, but hopefully having Jonah as coach will be a great motivator to help you through the challenge this September, so please get involved.”

As his first bit of motivation for the team, Jonah has signed a rugby ball which will go to the individual/group which raises the most funds for UNICEF NZ through Live Below the Line 2012.

Live Below the Line is run by Global Poverty Project. It launched in New Zealand in 2011 raising $120k for charities working against poverty. The campaign also runs in the US, UK and Australia. Live Below The Line Creative Director Will Watterson said, "We're thrilled to have Jonah participating in this challenge for UNICEF NZ. I've always been inspired by Jonah's ability to tackle difficult challenges head on. He is an example to all of us of what can be achieved with a strong sense of hope and determination.

“As Jonah joins hundreds of other Kiwis living below the line, he is also helping bring the stories of the world's poorest people into our living rooms, workplaces and classrooms. We're deeply grateful for his support."

For more information or to sign up to Live Below the Line for UNICEF NZ go to:  www.unicef.org.nz