Living on the Edge

Poverty Simulation

A unique, interactive group experience that provides a glimpse of what it might be like for Winnipeg families struggling with poverty.

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Gain new insights into poverty

About 10% of Winnipeggers live in poverty, including one in four children. A United Way Winnipeg poverty simulation will help your workplace or school group learn about this complex issue.

Participants take on a role within a family that is living on a low income. The three-hour simulation covers four short “weeks” during which families perform daily tasks like sending kids to school, accessing childcare and transportation, finding work, paying bills, visiting social services, buying groceries, cashing cheques, and more.

People describing the simulation often call it “eye-opening” and speak of becoming more conscious of barriers and challenges they can help others with.

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Why participate in this group experience?

  • It's meaningful.

    Poverty affects us all. Gaining a new perspective on a reality faced by so many of our fellow Winnipeggers is a worthwhile journey.

  • It's hands-on.

    You and your group will assume roles, including low-income families and service providers, and live a simulated life in a very real way.

  • It's informative.

    Following the simulation, participants share what they learned and felt during a debriefing session facilitated by United Way Winnipeg.

Interested in having Living on the Edge at your workplace or school?

Our United Way Winnipeg engagement staff can help.

Consider the following before you contact us:

Date and Time

The simulation takes about three hours. Choose a date and time that works for your group, and we will do our very best to accommodate it.


We can accommodate 40 to 80 participants. The simulation does not work with fewer than 40. You will also need to provide an additional 10 participants to act as community resource staff.


You will need to provide a venue for the simulation. It should be a room of at least 3,000 square feet. United Way Winnipeg can make venue suggestions if needed. We require 90 minutes to set up the simulation and orient the volunteers before it begins.


$750 covers the cost of the simulation. If this is a barrier, please let us know.

Experience it

Join groups from business, government and education who’ve already experienced the powerful impact of a Living on the Edge poverty simulation. It’s an ideal team-building exercise for groups of 40 to 80 who are seeking unique opportunities to enhance tolerance, compassion and empathy among their members or workforce. Arrange a poverty simulation for your group or organization now.

Experience it

Or give us a call at 204-477-5360.


Looking for ways to make a difference but don’t have a lot of time? Play an important role bringing Living on the Edge to life by acting as one of our simulated community service representatives. It takes about 4 hours & it’s the perfect opportunity to enhance your interpersonal, leadership and communication skills while helping people in our community understand the realities of poverty. No experience, previous knowledge or prep required.


Or give us a call at 204-477-5360.

Let’s start planning

Bring this empathy-building activity to your coworkers and help make our community a more understanding place for everyone.

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Volunteers at Living on the Edge: Taking a Look at Poverty.
Tiff BartelLiving on the Edge