Living on One Dollar

Living On One Dollar is a film that follows the lives of four college students as they live on $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala. Ryan Christoffersen, Zach Ingrasci, Sean Leonard, and Chris Temple wanted to experience what it was like to live in extreme poverty. Many workers do not have reliable jobs and never know when they will get paid. Thus, to make their experience more realistic, they drew slips of paper out of a hat each morning with dollar amounts ranging from $0-$9. Furthermore, in the film, Ryan, Zach, Sean, and Chris try to take out a loan to see how difficult it is and they find that it is nearly impossible due to the paperwork and documents needed. Also, when one of the guys gets sick, they realize the trials families go through when there is an emergency like an illness or death. Although they did experience hunger and illness, they also experienced friendship, hope, and community. They were quickly accepted into the community as some of their neighbors prepared an expensive meal for them and then one of the boys invited them to come to his school. The video stresses the importance of building relationships with your neighbors and acting as a community rather than individual families living in the same area.

Throughout their two month journey, they posted short clips to YouTube and decided to make a full video after getting 700,000+ hits on their YouTube videos. The film Living on One Dollar is now available on Netflix, Hulu, and for purchase online. Ryan, Zach, Sean, and Chris not only want to share with the world what it’s like to live in extreme poverty, but they also want people to take action and have created ways for people to donate and help those who are living in poverty. In addition to showing the world what living in poverty is like, they are currently working on another film called Salam Neighbor, which follows their lives living in a refugee camp. Ryan, Zach, Sean, and Chris are putting a new twist on documentary filmmaking. Not only are they documenting the lives and hardships of people around the world, they are mixing it with documentaries of their own experiences in the same conditions. They are creating thought-provoking and influential media, and also providing people with ways to help.

To learn more about their projects or to donate, visit

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