Fam­ily to go be­low line

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE DAW­SON

FORTY-EIGHT hours.

That time can rep­re­sent a week­end or a cou­ple of days work­ing and spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends for most of us. It can be filled with food and fun.

But 48 hours is also the aver­age time it takes for a vic­tim of child traf­fick­ing to be taken from a home and forced into prostitution.

Most vic­tims are chil­dren aged 12 or un­der.

The Winthrop fam­ily of One­hunga had th­ese facts in mind when it de­cided to sac­ri­fice a week’s worth of good food to ex­pe­ri­ence, al­beit for a limited time, what it is like to be faced with the grind­ing poverty that 1.2 bil­lion peo­ple glob­ally live with ev­ery day.

The Winthrops – mum Ni­cola, dad Graeme and kids Lau­ren, 17, Mani, 15, Josh, 12, Na­dia, 8, and Theo, 5 – will be liv­ing on $2.25 per day per per­son for this year’s Live Be­low the Line, the an­nual fundrais­ing and aware­ness cam­paign fight­ing ex­treme poverty.

They will be rais­ing money and aware­ness for TEAR Fund’s work against child traf­fick­ing. It will mean a diet of mainly lentils and rice for a week with lit­tle op­por­tu­nity for any fresh food.

It’s a big sac­ri­fice, es­pe­cially for young­sters, but the Winthrop kids are all up for it, even 5-year-old Theo.

The chil­dren spent many of their young years in Asia, in­clud­ing In­done­sia, China, Laos, Cam­bo­dia and Viet­nam. They have seen first­hand those liv­ing with­out what many con­sider the ba­sic necessities.

‘‘It will be in­ter­est­ing to have a taste of it,’’ Mani, 15, says.

‘‘We’ve all wit­nessed it, seen the kids on the street, but we have never ex­peri- enced it so it will give us a new level of un­der­stand­ing.

‘‘And even though we’re liv­ing on $2.25 peo­ple over­seas still live on less than that.’’

Mrs Winthrop says while abroad the fam­ily lived in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties rather than ex­pat en­claves and saw some eye-open­ing things.

Live Be­low the Line is an op­por­tu­nity to re­mind the whole clan life for oth­ers is not a walk in the park.

‘‘It’s be­ing so­cially aware and not want­ing to have the kids’ vi­sion wa­tered down while we’re liv­ing in such an af­flu­ent coun­try,’’ she says.

They also want to raise aware­ness of the work TEAR Fund is do­ing to fight child traf­fick­ing.

‘‘Traf­fick­ing is so closely linked to poverty.

‘‘A vil­lage girl can be so eas­ily lured by an aunty or fam­ily mem­ber, they think they’re go­ing for a job in the city as a re­cep­tion­ist but they’re not.

‘‘There’s a 48-hour win­dow to when some­one is traf­ficked to when they will ser­vice their first client,’’ Mrs Winthrop says.

‘‘If we can do some­thing to help raise aware­ness we’re quite keen to help with that,’’ she says.

Al­ready 900 New Zealan­ders have signed up to Live Be­low the Line, vow­ing to live on just $2.25 a day from Septem­ber 23 to 27.

Photo: JOE DAW­SON

Lentil diet loom­ing: The Winthrop fam­ily of One­hunga will be do­ing Live Be­low the Line in 2013. From left are Josh, 12, Lau­ren, 17, Na­dia, 8, Mani, 15, Theo, 5, Ni­cola and Graeme.

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