Day 4: Ram’s House

A Dollar a Day

Could you live on $1 a day?

  • 15336016:640:360
  • 15336817:640:360

Learn more about Ram Kumar and his family in this short video clip from Chris' visit today.

It is hard to imagine what life is like for kids in India like Ram Kumar. Have you ever tried to convince your parents to buy something for you by saying, "It's just a dollar"?

But for families in rural areas especially, $1 a day is all they have to provide food, clothing, and housing for an entire family. The cost of living in India is much lower than in countries like the United States, but it is still a challenge to survive on just one or two dollars of income.


Set aside some time (1 to 2 hours, maybe even a day depending on ages & schedule) during which you will pretend you are a poor family in India, living on just $1 a day.

Turn off your phones, computers, MP3 players, lights, etc. to get more of an idea what daily life is like, especially in rural India.

Here are some things you can try during this time to experience what daily life is like for kids growing up in India:

  • Food Prepare a simple meal of rice for the family to eat. Each person should get only a small bowl, and there should be no leftovers. As you prepare the rice over a stove, talk about how most moms in India cook over a fire, using dried cow dung or wood as fuel. Have your child add food coloring to a cup of water to make it look dirty; talk about how many Indian families only have access to water that is contaminated by trash or animal/human waste. Sit on the floor to eat your meal (and try eating with your fingers, like Chris does in today's video!).
  • Laundry Most families in India must wash clothes by hand. A boy or girl might only own one or two outfits. Find a shirt to wash and scrub by hand in the kitchen sink or bathtub. Talk about what it would be like to do your laundry like this every day!
  • Clothing Trade shoes and/or clothes with someone in your family who wears a different size. Kids in India often go barefoot, but if they do own shoes, they don't have the luxury of going to get a proper fit. They often wear hand-me-down shoes and clothes that are too big or too small.
  • Reading Don't read any books during this time. Many kids can't read - in fact, 87 million boys and in India who should be in school aren't enrolled, usually because their parents can't afford to send them. Lots of moms and dads can't read either (you'll hear more in Day 6 about how Mission India is helping through free literacy classes).
  • Fun Most kids in India don't have toys, so they make up games using whatever is around, like rocks or sticks. Make up your own game or click here for instructions on playing the Indian game Uffangali.

Talk about it:

Reflect as a family on your experience. What was the hardest thing about doing this activity? What surprised you the most? If you had to live like this every day, would your faith in God make it easier to endure? Spend some time praying for Indian families like Ram Kumar's, that they would know the joy of the Lord as their strength, and give thanks as a family for God's blessings.