A MUM is surviving on a daily food budget of just £1 to experience and raise awareness of what it is like to live in the world’s poorest countries.

Claire Craig-Nassar, of Great Northern Street, Huntingdon, is halfway through Live Below the Line UK, five days of living on what is internationally recognised as extreme poverty.

"It's something I have been interested in for a long time - the issue of poverty and what you can do as an individual in a more wealthy country," she said.

"It's a real challenge. I want to re-evaluate how I think about food and how I spend money on food and, at the same time, do my bit to increase awareness of the insanity of poverty."

It started on Monday (April 29) but Ms Craig-Nassar, 30, said she was not involving her five-year-old daughter Salma. "In a way that's harder because I have to cook food for her," she added. "Even my dog Foxy has a bigger food budget than me."

Her weekly shop consisted of one pack of Morrisons value oats for breakfast; four pints of milk, £1 from Tesco, for porridge and tea; 500g of lentils, an onion, a can of value chopped tomatoes, three carrots and a stock cube - dinner for five days.

Teabags were the biggest dilemma, with the rules stating that the cost of a whole box had to be taken into account, rather than costing each bag. Donations of food or drink are also banned.

But Ms Craig-Nassar, who works part-time at Hungtingdon Library, decided she could not go without tea. She also bought a 27p pack of ginger nuts, which worked out at six a day, to go with her brews, and that constituted lunch.

"On Monday I had to go on a training course," she said. "It was tough when everyone was going out for tea breaks because I couldn't have anything. At the end of the day I was really grumpy. We had to fill out feedback forms and I think I was overly harsh."

Ms Craig-Nassar, who also teaches English to foreign mums, said she would avoid hunger by going to bed early, playing the piano and reading. "Sitting in front of the TV is be a big no - that's when I just want toast and things."

Having lived in Egypt for six years, she said getting through five days living so frugally there would be easier than in the UK. "In Egypt people are used to living on a lot less, so you can buy things in smaller quantities. People are also much more willing to share what they have."

The challenge is organised annually by the Global Poverty Project, an organisation working to increase action against extreme poverty, and people are sponsored to take part.

Ms Craig-Nassar set a target of raising £150 and broke it within three days. "People came out of the woodwork. Some I had not seen for 15 years. It's something people are obviously willing to get behind."

INFORMATION: If you would like to support her efforts, go to www.livebelowtheline.com/me/clairec and, for more on the challenge, visit www.livebelowtheline.com