Rosa is our friend, the star of our film, and our inspiration for supporting women around the world through microfinance.
We now have an incredible opportunity for all of us to help Rosa achieve her dreams. We buy weavings directly from Rosa to make our Living on One t-shirts and tanks. With the profits from her weaving business, Rosa is sending herself through school to become a nurse.
Living on One shirts are currently sold-out but we can let you know when we get the next shipment in from Rosa by singing up on our main-page: www.livingonone.org
We are so proud to announce a special opportunity for anyone in the U.S. to watch Living on One Dollar for free!
Here is the official link to the trailer on Hulu that will lead you directly to the full film April 22nd - May 3rd: www.Hulu.com/living-on-one-dollar
The film will be exclusively on Hulu and Hulu Plus for only two weeks from April 22nd - May 3rd. In special support of our cause, the film will be featured on the frontpage of Hulu on Earth Day, April 22nd!
If this wasn't exciting enough, we are partnering with The Global Poverty Project’s annual Live Below the Line campaign this April. We will use our film to promote the campaign, which challenges you to live on only $1.50 a day for food and drink for five days from April 29 – May 3, 2013, to bring attention to the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty. In 2012, more than 15,000 people took on the challenge, including celebrities Malin Akerman, Josh Groban, and Nick Lachey. The campaign raised more than $3 million for poverty alleviation!
Help make April 22nd - May 3rd an amazing two weeks for poverty alleviation by joining us for the Hulu limited release and spreading the word to your friends!
To re-tweet the Twitter announcement click: HERE
To re-post the Facebook announcement click: HERE
And if you are really ready to make a difference, join the Living on One team as we take on the Live Below the Line Challenge. You can register right now here: www.Livebelowtheline.com
If you aren't in the U.S. you can book a screening here and even have Chris and Zach come speak. All the information and forms are here: www.LivingonOne.org/film
As I was sitting in the theater watching the people of Pena Blanca, there was a scene where Chino was walking with his little brother. It struck me how much Chino's little brother looked so much like my son, especially his smile.
My son, Carlos, is Mayan (Guatemalan) and was adopted by my partner and I when he was 3 days old. He has always been curious about his people and where he came from. We knew he had to see this movie so he could truly see what life in the highlands of Guatemala was like.
When he had a chance to watch Living on One, it initially made him sad. He wanted to help but wasn't sure what an 8 year old could do. We talked through some ideas and he decided he wanted to simply ask people for donations and make caramels as a gift in return. He got to work (with help from the whole family) and was overwhelmed with the response. In just a few days, he had raised over $700! There were many times he was ready to quit and even a time when he questioned whether he should be being paid for his efforts, but he stuck with it and has now raised over $2,400 to help Chino's family. He gets pictures and updates and beams with pride whenever he talks about this family.
At 8 years old, I don't think he can truly grasp how much he has done for them but as his mom, I do, and I couldn't be more proud.
Thank you Zach, Chris, Sean and Hannah for inspiring my son and entire family with your documentary. We look forward to all of your future adventures!
TV or Not to Be Thursday’s is being postponed for an important announcement…
Living on One Dollar is finally available for school and community screenings!
When we left for Guatemala in 2010, we had no idea what would happen on this crazy adventure but were sure of one thing: we had to share our journey and the stories of the people we were meeting with our friends back in the U.S..
We started simply, by putting YouTube videos up each week for people to follow along through our bouts with Giardia and our incredible Pulik dinner with Anthony and Rosa (and to show our moms we were still alive down there!). Then, we graduated college and launched our non-profit, Living on One. Last August, we left Los Angeles on a 1978 school bus to continue the journey with a national tour, talking with students across the country about the realities of extreme poverty.
And now, nearly three years later, we are finally able to share our full documentary, Living on One Dollar with all of you!
Today, we are absolutely ecstatic to announce a new partnership with Seattle film distribution company, IndieFlix. Together, we are finally able to make Living on One Dollar available to schools and communities all over the world!
You may ask, why not just put the whole documentary up on YouTube or for download on iTunes? We have been asking ourselves that question, and we have chosen this partnership with IndieFlix and their unique distribution plan for a very specific reason.
We believe that we can create the most impact through screenings that bring a community together, sparking a new kind of conversation about extreme poverty. Instead of having people watch the film sitting in their living rooms, alone, we want to use our story to bring people together around the belief that if each one of us makes a small impact, we can create real change in the world. This is especially important when thinking about a problem as big and intimidating as extreme poverty.
You can be a part of this change by contacting your local schools, churches, and local organization. All of the information is on our new Film Page www.LivingonOne.org/Film. Fill out the form on "Book a Screening" and Ann, our amazing representative from IndieFlix will give you a call to set everything up.
Chris and Zach will also be touring with the film, so include a comment if you are interested in bringing them to speak. Thanks to your help so far, we have accomplished so much together and this is just the beginning!
It’s Thursday again so looks like it’s time for an update on how our foray into the TV world is going. These last two weeks have been filled with many furrowed brows, late night discussions, brainstorming, writing, rewriting, erasing everything, writing and rewriting again.
One of the most difficult questions we have been wrestling with is this: How do sustainable solutions that make a lasting impact fit into a 45 minute TV episode that captures our culture’s short term attention span? Are “Impact” and “Entertainment” fundamentally at odds?
I sometimes envision these ideas at the ends of an epic tug-of-war. I can see “Entertainment” sliding along, digging his heels into the ground and “Impact” definitely has picked up some rope burns by this point. As one side gains, the other fundamentally loses. The more drama and entertaining elements we put into the show, the less real impact and actual good it seems to do. The more the show promotes development practices that aren’t just a quick fix, the less it seems like anyone will actually watch it. We’ve already been advised to strike any word along the lines of “poverty” “sustainable solutions” “development” or even “making an impact” from the show pitch or you can kiss your chances of a network picking it up goodbye.
Sometimes, its easier to say that for a group who focuses on ending extreme poverty, “Impact” is the only thing that should matter. That “Entertainment” dilutes the message or diminishes the people you are trying to help. But, we think that having people actually stick around to see your message does matter. Check out this idea for a TV show: Sevenly’s 7 Days of Change. What do you think of their show concept?
I wish I could tell you we’ve found the perfect balance and brought the two ends of the tug-of-war rope together in a glowing, rose-petal smelling, sunny circle of love and peace. We haven’t.
What I can tell you is that we’re struggling with this. We aren’t sweeping these tough questions under the table, thinking that if we can only get on a big TV network, we would drop all our ideals. We are actually so adamant about keeping the impact element that we are considering self-producing a series on YouTube instead of going the network TV route at all.
While we may have already picked up some rope burns on the way, the good news is that we aren’t giving up. We think that stories of change do capture our attention and we are truly excited about telling them. Guess its back to the rewrite...
On a cool note, we may have a chance to meet up with Ty Pennington next week, the host of the most successful “impact” show ever- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition!! So, stay tuned for more updates on TV or Not To Be Thursdays!
[Thank you so much to Beth Balmanno for sharing her experience and her thoughts with us in this incredible guest blog!]
Beth: I always wanted to be an activist. Save the planet. Rescue baby gorillas. Park myself in a giant redwood being threatened with demolition.You name it, I wanted to do it.
But life had other plans for me. Plans that involved kids and homeschooling and writing. Yep, I write books. Young adult books, middle grade books, and romance books, all under a variety of pen names.
Even though my life's circumstances prevented me from saving the world in the way I'd always dreamed of, I still managed to incorporate philanthropy into my lives and the lives of my kids. We've spent more hours championing various causes and volunteering in our community than I can count. And we've dedicated tons of time to educating ourselves about the challenges that people around the world face on a daily basis.
Enter Living On One. By chance one morning, I had the local news on and caught an interview with Chris and Zach. I should have been writing. In fact, I had the laptop next to me, a file opened. But there was something about the interview that caught my eye, that made me stop typing and listen. Intrigued by what I heard, I opened my Internet browser and found the Living on One website. Read up on what they were about and saw that they were screening their film at the U of M that night.
Guess who chucked all her plans to attend?
And guess whose life was immediately impacted by watching that film and speaking with Chris after the showing?
I wanted to do something to help the one billion people who live on a dollar a day. I wanted to find a way to make a difference, in whatever way I could.
I'm not in the position to go and live the rest of my life in Guatemala, helping people secure microfinance loans. I can't travel around the country like Chris and Zach do, speaking at university campuses, urging people to get involved.
Most of us can't. Most of us are firmly entrenched in the lives we've already created—with bills to pay and children to raise and the hundreds of other things that consume us on a daily basis. But it doesn't mean we can't help, that we can't find a way to meaningfully contribute to help change the world for the better.
After attending the showing, I immediately thought of one way I could help. I have a wedding coming up this summer. I'm marrying a man I fell in love with twenty-some years ago, a man who stole back into my life a few years ago and completely swept me off my feet. Again.
We want a wedding so that we can share our day with our family and friends. But we don't need gifts. We don't want them. Instead, we're asking our guests to give to us in a different way. In lieu of gifts, we'll have tables set up with stories of people around the globe who are looking to secure microfinance loans to either start up or continue a business. We'll have boxes set up on these tables and encourage people to donate to the stories that resonate with them. Hopefully, this loaned money will be returned to us so that we can continue to loan this to other aspiring entrepreneurs, thus continuing the cycle of helping to lift people out of poverty.
There's another way I'm helping, too.
Remember how I said I was a writer? Well, I've written a slew of romance novellas, all featuring a different female protagonist. I had an idea for my next book but I didn't have her circumstances all figured out. Who she was. What her back story might be. I was stumped. Completely road-blocked.
And then, out of the blue, when I was slamming my head—literally—against my closed laptop, I thought of Living On One. And suddenly, I knew. Emma, my main character, could be a little like me. She could want to save the world. But, unlike me, she could go and live her dream for a while.
I couldn't type fast enough. Emma was coming back from spending time on a cultural exchange program in Mexico. But not just any cultural exchange. She spent the summer living in a shanty in rural Mexico, experiencing first-hand how the poorest of the poor live. Returning to San Diego, she realizes she needs to make some changes and to find some direction in her life, direction that has a purpose. PROMISE ME is her story.
It's probably the story I'm most proud of. Not because it's going to win a Pulitzer or because it will sell eleven million copies. It won't. But it has a big piece of me in it. And it came from my heart.
I know most of you probably aren't writers. And I know most of you can't do what Chris and Zach have dedicated their lives to doing.
But I bet there's something you can do to make a different to those one billion people living on a dollar a day.
My challenge to you?
Find that one thing you can do to make a difference.
Because one thing—multiplied by all of us—can make up millions of things. Billions of things. Billions of things we can do, collectively, to make the world a better place.
Click here to request a film screening or presentation in your school or community today!
After 112 days living on a renovated old school bus, our national tour has come to a close. It was a huge success and we cannot thank you all enough for spreading the word, coming out in numbers, and motivating us to keep moving forward.
As we take this momentum into 2013, we want to share some of our plans for Living on One and hear your thoughts, ideas and questions.
Step 1: Distribute the Film
Your support has shown us there’s an audience that wants to see our film. Now the task is to share it with as many people as possible to maximize the impact we can have on extreme poverty. The goal is to distribute on TV, in schools, across digital platforms like Netflix and Hulu and eventually on DVD.
Distribution can be a long process, but an exciting one! Right now, we are waiting to hear back from a number of film festivals, including South by Southwest, Tribeca, Mountainfilm, and the Seattle International Film Festival. Fingers crossed! We will start hearing back in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. Admission into festivals will help prove the film’s credibility but isn’t the only outlet. We are also simultaneously pursuing our own contacts and self-distribution options.
Thank you to everyone who has requested a screening and for your patience! We should be able to start doing individual screenings after film festivals.
Be the first to know about the film’s release by clicking “Keep me Updated” in the top right of our website. You can also request a screening in your community!
Step 2: Do Speaking Engagements
Zach and Chris have been incredibly honored with an invite to speak at the United Nations for the UNIS Conference in NYC this March! While the film is unavailable we are sharing our story with people across the country through an engaging 45-minute presentation to inspire action around extreme poverty. Zach and Chris have already presented at TEDx, Goldman Sach's Next Generation Conference, Rotary Seattle, and over 28 universities, high schools and middle schools.
By bringing Zach and Chris to speak you are not only inspiring your audience but also helping to power the work of our non-profit, Living on One!
Step 3: Plan a Second Project
Our next dream is even bigger than the last, and we would love to hear your thoughts. Throughout this whole experience, we’ve realized that what we really want to do with our lives is keep making entertaining and educational media around global poverty. And theres a need for the content.
I never thought I would actually write this, but WE ARE COMMITTING OURSELVES TO DOING A SEASON 2!
We are envisioning a series where each episode explores a different issue of extreme poverty (Clean Water, Hunger, Health, etc), as we battle these life-threatening challenges ourselves and share the inspiring stories of the people we meet. To maximize its impact, it could be interactive, where you, the audience, can join the journey live, ask questions, and even directly crowd-fund sustainable development projects.
We are spending the next few months researching and planning this next stage but know that it is just the beginning for Living on One. What do you think a series that focuses on different aspects of poverty could look like? Are there any reality based shows you especially like? Share with us on Facebook!
As a child that grew up with VCR machinery and the shrill dial-up noises of the ever-growing ‘World Wide Web’, I have an affinity for wires, lights, power cords, and technological innovation. For this reason, our bus is not only outfitted with an engine and four tires, but a sophisticated level of mobile-office technology. Let me expand upon this:
When leaving in September, I soon realized this tour would require the four of us to not only travel while on the road, but also work. We needed to write emails, edit short movies, re-edit the doc, write more emails, schedule our events, GPS our route, take conference calls, listen to music, charge our phones, make coffee, respond to more emails, make more coffee, and finally write blogs like this. WOAH.
Now the bus is not exactly a NASA rocket ship or stereophonic record player, but it is outfitted with some if not several, of the newest, most prominent pieces of up and coming technology. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
1. We have solar panels. They charge the electronics. There are 34 different outlets for plugs on the bus.
2. We have a Verizon 4G Hotspot for on the go Internet access. It’s the only reason we’re able to send emails, upload photos, and post to YouTube. It even powers up to 10 different devices so our phones can be on 4G too. A special thank you goes to Verizon for donating it to us while on tour!
3. Need to make conference calls? Like to listen to music on the go? This tiny Bluetooth speaker lives alongside us and plays our music everyday. Right now we’re listening to: ODESZA, Vacationer, Beach House, but Chris only listens to Katy Perry.
4. We have a hydraulic seat.
5. Sometimes the monitor that we use to edit on is used to play workout videos so we can stay in shape.
6. Like to watch movies outside? The bus has been outfitted with a projector and PA system for L1 promotion and ‘driving movies’
So that’s the bus.
’Driving movies’ have emerged recently as an advancement to ‘drive-in movies’ which were popular in the 1950’s. With the ever expanding trucking in the 21st century, many drivers have taken to projecting movies from within their own vehicles onto the sides of semi-trucks. Some viewers have complained to the very irregular screen time that occurs in this situation while most truck drivers have yet to show signs of being annoyed.
My alarm woke me from a deep sleep at exactly 7:56 am on our friend’s couch in Chicago. I bundled myself in three layers of my warmest clothes and literally ran out the door to move our trusty bus before she got ticketed for 8 am street cleaning. Crunching through a light layer of snow, I opened the back hatch to start her up (the key ignition doesn’t work) and with a deep belly growl, she grumbled once, twice, and refused to turn over. NOOOOO!
Realizing that she wasn’t going to start, I asked myself; if this was the end of the tour, if our beautiful beast of a bus won’t take us any further, would we consider this tour to have been a success? What have we learned? And what has been our impact thus far?
Why do this?!
Daryl Collins, author of Portfolios of the Poor (the research that we based our film on), summed up perfectly the reason that we are on tour after she saw our film in Boston. She said, “To effectively address poverty we need many angles on the problem. We need to not only have research but to have someone specifically in mind, someone we can think of when we are trying to create effective impact.”
We are incredibly grateful to be able to share the stories of Anthony, Rosa and Chino with thousands of people around the country on this tour. We hope that when many of these people think of the statistic, 1.1 billion live in extreme poverty, they will also think of our friends in Peña Blanca.
But How Many People?
The number of people we have reached contiues to surpass our expectations at every tour stop. We have shown the film 19 times to over 4,370 individuals!
We have also been able to massively amplify awareness through local and national media coverage with an estimated 36,682,007 media impressions so far!!!! (Calculated by Weber Shandwick from total reach of media outlets.)
Here are 4 of our favorite TV segments, articles and radio shows:
What has been the impact?
It is still too early to fully see the impact we have had but here a couple highlights you all have made possible:
Involvement in microfinance:
Education scholarships for children in Peña Blanca:
How do you truly measure the impact of awareness and inspiration? We don’t know, but for us, meeting 9-year-old Carlos reminds us to keep the bus moving forward.
Now for the West Coast and Guatemala!
We have already seen such an amazing response but the tour isn’t over! After the sun finally came up in Chicago later that day, our bus thankfully decided that she did, in fact, want to continue on this journey with us and started right up. We have exciting screenings coming up in San Francisco, LA and have plans for a short Guatemala tour in late January.
None of these impacts would have been possible without YOUR support. Thank you and we hope that you will continue with us on this journey far into the future.
Find a free screening near you: http://www.livingonone.org/tour.html
Donate to Living on One to help us continue creating impact: http://www.livingonone.org/donate.html
Microfinance services are not only in the developing world. There are unbanked entrepreneurs in our own communities or just off our college campuses. In the U.S., 1 in 12 people (17 million) does not have a bank account and 1 in 4 is underbanked according to the FDIC.
Domestic microfinance institutions (MFIs) have begun popping up to meet the need.
While in Washington D.C. we met up with one of these unique groups, the Hilltop Microfinance Initiative, to explore the benefits and challenges facing domestic lenders. Hilltop provides small loans and business consulting to low-income residents of Columbia Heights, D.C..
It’s also founded and run entirely by Georgetown students.
It’s a win-win. The organization’s directors, Alissa Orlando and Alex Honjiyo, explained to us that they are able to help spur the local economy by providing much needed access to loans while at the same time learning valuable skills about how to manage their own social business. And its all done while in college.
There are now 14 student MFIs around the U.S., using the skills, time, and enthusiasm of college kids to make a sustainable impact.
To begin lending on your campus, these resources will get you started: http://www.CampusMFI.org
To learn more about the domestic microfinance industry, I’d suggest a few places:
Do you think microfinance can work in the U.S.? Let us know your thoughts.
You actually LIVE on the school bus? Can I see it? Can I get in it? Can I drive it??
I think I have had this conversation with someone at every single stop. To every person I say, yes we live on the bus, yes you can see it, yes you can come get in it.. and yes, of course you can drive it! At that point most people just look at you, wide-eyed, and promptly decide that they have changed their mind about making that right turn up ahead in our 45 foot beast.
While you may not want to drive, you can join us on this journey and help change the world right now! Together we can bring extreme poverty to the forefront of a national conversation and inspire thousands of people to take action along with us.
This week, Living on One is launching a national Facebook campaign for every single one of you to GET ON THE BUS!
Complete these three easy steps this week and we will enter you in a drawing on Sunday, October 28th, to win 1 of 3 limited edition Living on One t-shirts.
1. “Like” our Facebook page
2. Post a photo to your wall of you holding up “L1” (make sure its public)
3. In the photo description, write -
@LivingonOne: I will (how you pledge to make a difference) to #Getonthebus
Here are some ideas of how you can #Getonthebus...
I will share the Living on One Dollar film trailer on my wall to #Getonthebus
I will take the Sean Foote microfinance class to #Getonthebus
I will go to the ____ screening of Living on One Dollar to #Getonthebus
I will bring my friends to the ____ screening of Living on One Dollar to #Getonthebus
I will give $10 to give a microfinance loan and change a life to #Getonthebus
I will give $___ to give a microfinance loan and change a life to #Getonthebus
I will give $___ to Living on One to inspire thousands to take action to #Getonthebus
I will give one hour of my time today to help someone in need to #Getonthebus
I will volunteer with _____ non-profit working in my own community to #Getonthebus
I will write a blog post with my reactions to what living on one dollar would be like to #Getonthebus
I will tweet about Living on One to spread the word about the #L1Tour to #Getonthebus
I will read an article about microfinance today to #Getonthebus
I will join the _____ club on my campus to #Getonthebus
I will start a student microfinance club on my own campus to #Getonthebus
I will travel abroad and seek to better understand the lives of people who live differently than I do to #Getonthebus
I will not hide from the poverty in the US and get involved in a local charity to #Getonthebus
I am completely obsessed with food. Our entire team is. In the little time that is not absorbed by Living on One, I am usually thinking about it or even better, eating it. So naturally things like living on one dollar a day in Guatemala and going on tour in a bus without a kitchen for four months, makes us all… anxious.
While I love to cook and usually eat very healthy, I am also very lazy. I am the first to admit that I look forward to a big mac every time that I am in an airport. But my secret fast food indulgences while traveling probably wouldn’t work out to well on a four-month tour.
Our mission is to create awareness about global poverty and provide tangible ways for people to take action. Access to food and the way people eat is a critical aspect of such a complex problem. This tour provides us with a unique opportunity to highlight some incredibly important issues surrounding food both in the U.S. and abroad.
For the next four months we will be blogging once a week about how and what we eat on the road (mixed in with some never before seen footage from Guatemala) and periodically giving ourselves challenges to learn more about important food related issues first hand. You can look forward to especially difficult weeks where we only eat on a food stamp budget or the one I dread the most, vegan week.
… please join us on these challenges and share your experiences with us. We want to show people what you are learning as well!
Check out our first #BowlFoods video (we only have four bowls to eat out of) that gives you a peak at what it is like cooking in our 1978 school bus. We ran into a couple serious problems.
Next week, Chef Dan Marek, from our awesome tour sponsor, Whole Foods Market, will be giving us tips on how to eat on the road in a way that is both delicious, good for us and on a budget!
Post by Zach
Our bus surprisingly made the drive to Austin without breaking down or us hitting anything significant.. (Hannah did hit a dumpster though)
On the rooftop of Whole Foods Market, close to 300 Austinites came together at sunset to watch Into Poverty: Living on One Dollar.
I was sitting nervously amongst the crowd with Hannah, Zach and Sean, probably watching people’s reactions more than the film itself. After thousands of hours and 25 rough cuts, there we were, holding the first screening of our national tour with our friends and partner organization Whole Planet Foundation.
In brief, Whole Planet Foundation alleviates poverty through vetted microfinance partners in both the U.S. and abroad. Five years ago I interned for them in Queens, NY and Panajachel, Guatemala. As a fresh faced 18-year-old, they exposed me to the transformative power of microfinance to help the poor.
Not only are they great people, but they do great work. We have seen their impact on our neighbors in Peña Blanca and heard Rosa’s excitement as she talked about her loan.
They are different because they evaluate their microfinance partners, always put the needs of the poor first, and ensure that 100% of all donations go directly to loans.
I hope that you will consider giving a woman just like Rosa an opportunity to improve her life: http://www.wholeplanetfoundation.org/get-involved/campaign/living-on-one/
Even one dollar can make an impact.
Post By Chris Temple, Co-Founder and Executive Director
“Hey Mom.. Dad.. I think I am going to go live on a school bus.”
These may be the last words any parent wants to hear from their son or daughter when asked what they plan to do post college graduation.
So, it’s a good thing that when we graduated and told our parents about this decision to go live on a borrowed bus for the next four months, there was a lot more to the story.
While it is true that Zach, Chris, Sean and I are on a crazy adventure to drive a 1978 renovated school bus over 7,500 miles around the US, this is more than just a road trip for us. It’s a chance see just what kind of impact our generation can have in the world. We are using our film and our experience to start a conversation between young people with different passions and different backgrounds from all across America about what we can do to end extreme poverty.
But when we decided to head out on this road trip across the country, we realized we were going to need some serious sound equipment.
After the first night, we realized that a Target trip was also in order..
And after the second night, we decided that 110 degree Phoenix heat in a non-airconditioned bus was not an optimal condition for Sean’s many hard drives.
And finally, since Chris was not even slightly sarcastic about the fact that he “no longer believes in deodorant” and the air conditioner Zach is so gleefully pushing through the parking lot was not-so-gleefully returned just a few days later.. I have reserved my personal right to completely fumigate the bus with Febreze at least once every single day over these next four months.
And with that, we headed out on the road!
Any other essentials we should have on the Living on One Tour Bus? Post your suggestions on Facebook.. especially if they require Chris to do the “PA-crab-walk” to get them aboard!
Post by Hannah Gregg, Co-Founder and Program Director
While driving dirt roads in Arizona is a blast, here is how we got there...
Our journey began, as four college sophomores, when Chris and I came up with an idea to better understand the reality of extreme poverty first hand.
We decided to spend two months living on one dollar a day in rural Guatemala.
We wanted to understand how someone budgets a single dollar to pay for all their needs and what services can be provided to better help that person manage their money. We had studied microfinance and development, but this was our opportunity to learn firsthand.
A critical part of this experience was to let other people be a part of this journey. I recruited two budding filmmaker friends, Sean and Ryan, to join us. We filmed everything and shared what we were learning in real time through YouTube and social media.
Our two-month journey was intense. We battled E.Coli, financial stress, and the realization that there are no easy answers. At times we felt like calling it quits but we found a resilient hope in the inspiring yet difficult stories of three of our neighbors, Anthony, Rosa and Chino. They transformed our lives.
Surprisingly our videos were viewed over 570,000 times! So we've devoted the last two years to making a documentary - Into Poverty: Living on One Dollar.
When we graduated from college, we realized that what we really wanted to do was to continue being disruptive storytellers, advocate for microfinance and help other young people use their bold ideas to change the world.
In the spring of 2012, Chris, Sean, Hannah and I founded Living on One to be a catalyst for the rapidly growing movement of young people committed to confronting global poverty.
We provide both the inspiration (the film) and the practical tools (the Student Microfinance Movement) to help young people get involved in microfinance through giving loans, taking classes, finding internships, or even creating a college campus lending program to make an immediate difference in the lives of the extreme poor.
The millennial generation cares about serious global issues and wants to make a real impact. With the rapid advancement and proliferation of technology and social media, our peers have a unique opportunity to change the course of extreme poverty, and the time is now.
This fall, we packed our lives into a 1978 bus to hold events at 25 colleges across the nation and find young people who are excited to help our generation do something about global poverty.
…but you don’t have to be a college student to make a difference! Take a second and pick one of these three actions to help change the world right now.
Austin, TX. is rapidly disappearing behind us and our beautiful beast of a tour bus has just hit her maximum speed of 65 mph on the road towards the blue GPS blip that is currently all I know of New Orleans. I can’t help but feel a tinge of nostalgia as we leave behind a city and new friends that have sent us on our way with memories we will never forget. If the kick-off event is an indicator for the rest of this tour and this journey, then we are in for an incredible ride.
Our Austin Premiere and Living on One Tour Kick-Off was held on the rooftop plaza of Whole Foods Global Headquarters. For 50 minutes on Saturday, Sept 8th our friends Chino, Anthony and Rosa took center stage in the heart of Austin. Hearing their voices echo off surrounding buildings and seeing their faces projected 50ft high for the whole city to see is a moment that will forever stick in our hearts and those of the 300 people around us.
This night would never have been possible without the tireless work of our friends and partners, Whole Planet Foundation and Whole Foods Market. Thank you!
For those who couldn’t join us in Austin…
Post by Zach, Co-Founder and Executive Director