Game tastes problems faced trying to live on $1.25 a day

by | Jun 14, 2012 | Poverty: Analysis and Responses

Do you know what it’s like to live on $1.25 a day? One non-profit, Live58, wants to bring the experience to life for Internet users around the world. It launched Survive125, a choose-your-own-adventure style simulation of life in extreme poverty. You may not actually feel as you would in the real situation but at least one become aware of the choices that are force upon people.

“Live58 is made up of 10 non-profits working to see the end of extreme poverty, by educating and inspiring people on issues of extreme poverty,” Scott Seibold, director of media for Live58, told Mashable. “Lots of people have done videos, but we never saw anyone take on gaming, and we wanted to create something experiential.”

When you begin the game, you’re placed in the shoes of Divya Patel, a 26-year-old bricklayer and mother of four. While Patel is fictional, her story is supposed to represent an average month for someone in India living in extreme poverty. The game’s introduction explains that 26% of the world’s population lives on $1.25 or less.

As you make choices, such as whether to live in the city slums or the village, you learn how Patel’s life can end up — though none are glamorous. That’s largely because, in India, 70% of the population living in extreme poverty resides in the village on 26 rupees per day. Of Patel’s weekly salary of 182 rupees, 135 must go toward food and another 24 must go toward firewood.

You’re faced with choices such as paying 500 rupees for a new school uniform of pulling your son from school, staying home from work when your daughter gets sick and losing from your already low wages, and deciding whether to let your daughter take a job at a factory rumored to be linked with sex trafficking.

Mashable: Social Media Campaign Challenges You to Live on $1.50 of Food Per Day

The game builds on a similarly-themed social media campaign, Live Below the Line, which annually challenges people to live on $1.50 per day of food for one week.

Do you think gamification can be a good way to teach about life in extreme poverty? Let us know what you think of the game.

VInFormation has a similar game that can be played on a mobile phone. Hobson’s Choice


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