Photo: Living on One Dollar
About 1.1 billion people in the world survive on just $1 a day.It’s a fact that economics students Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci couldn’t get out of their heads.
“What can I do? That’s the hardest part about it … there is no one answer,” says Temple. “[The U.S.] has poured $2.5 trillion dollars into international development trying to end poverty and a lot of times it just made things worse.”
Together, the pair decided to take their studies outside the classroom, to someplace more practical –– the edge of poverty itself. Living on $1 a day for two months, they moved to a remote Guatemalan town to study the people’s relationship with money and see how access to credit could impact their survival.
They documented their journey in a new film called “Living On One.”
Two Claremont McKenna College students moved to a remote village in Guatemala, where they would try to survive on an income of $1 per day for a total of 56 days.
They weren't interested in hotels. Here's where they (along with two videographers) lived for six weeks.
Their logic was simple: Most people in the town were day laborers and never knew how much they'd earn on a typical day.
Like a lot of people in the town, they decided to start their own small business with a micro-finance loan from a small nonprofit called Grameen.
Survival kit: With $15, they bought some black beans, rice, bananas, toilet paper, firewood, and matches.
Here's Chino, age 12 (left). He quit school when his family could no longer afford his tuition. He collects wood during the day.
Around day 30, things started to take a turn for the worse. Chris came down with a nasty parasite and E. Coli.
The medicine cost $25 –– a relatively huge expense for people with no savings. That got them thinking ... how did people pay for unexpected emergencies?
Bank loans aren't an option. They require a ton of information no day laborer would have: an electricity bill, pay stubs, three months worth of bills, and two co-signers.
For people like Rosa, who dropped out of school because her family couldn't afford it, micro-finance loans were the answer.
They haven't. Chris and Zach are touring the country with their documentary, and have launched a non-profit micro-lending business called Living On One.
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