In my research of poverty in our nation, I have been called “crazy”. Crazy? Really? For caring? For wanting to find out the truth? Interesting… Well if you think I’m crazy, wait till you hear about the lengths this man is going to to bring awareness to poverty.I heard about a man who started “that poverty project” where he would live like one in poverty for a total of 9 months. You’ve got to read what this man has done!
Sean Krausert has always had a passion for social justice. “I wanted to take it to the next level”, he mentioned to me over the phone. His passion isn’t necessarily fundraising for charity, but more to have a part in changing the way people think. “Behaviors don’t change until we change the way we think”, says Krausert. He wanted to do something attention-grabbing enough to get people asking: “What do I think about this?” His desire through his project is to create better awareness about poverty, breaking down stereotypes. Sean explains further, “We don’t live in a society of scarcity. We need to be thinking differently. Everyone’s basic needs CAN be met, internationally and locally. The cost of poverty in Alberta costs more to service poverty than it would cost to eliminate it. If we spend better, it won’t cost us anything.”
Ready to hear what he did to raise this kind of awareness? Here it is:
Each experience he went through was for a total of three months:
Month 1: live three months in a sparse tent in the backyard: no shaving, no hair cuts, no shower, only using two sets of clothing, no money, no transport, eating like those would eat in a shelter.
Month 2: go through the struggles the working poor endure for three months: have some money but not enough to meet all needs. Live like rent and utilities were paid for but average only $7.50 a day to cover transportation, food, clothing..
Month 3 (the month he is presently on): living on world program rations like someone would in a refugee camp for three months. His diet for these three months consist only of; rice, beans, chickpeas, sugar, cornmeal, salt, spices. He told me how much he is missing meat! (he’s lost 20 pounds in only 4 weeks)
While he’s been doing this project, he is communicating all of the insights he is gleaning via twitter, facebook, and blogging. The exposure he has received has gone worldwide and has stayed generally positive. His desire to give those living in poverty dignity and a voice is starting to be heard.
Sean states that he is not trying to replicate these experiences, as there is no way one can when its finite. But what he IS doing, is walking part of the way and sharing the journey in hopes to bring awareness the problems many living in poverty around us face. This project has not gone without many sacrifices from him, but also from his wife and two teenage children age twelve and seventeen. For the past seven months, he has been juggling being a dad who is present and continuing the project. As challenging as it has been, his family has been more than supportive and has been learning along with him.
Why is he doing this? Sean answers, “It’s about being human, about compassion, about ‘do unto others’. It’s not about wanting handouts. It’s time we know what poverty looks and feels like”.
I would like to challenge you to lay aside your stereotypes of poverty and research what poverty looks like in your community and city. You’d be surprised who is effected and some deal with it in ways you would never guess.
Be educated about poverty. Follow “that poverty guy” on his blog and read about his journey that reflects 1 out of every 11 people in Alberta who live in poverty. It’s time to make poverty personal, but that takes some educating on our parts. Are you willing?