• April 15, 2014

Q&A: Renée C. Byer’s Living on a Dollar A Day

Becky Harlan

“I think of myself as a journalist who chooses the art of photography to bring awareness to the world. Art is a powerful means of expression, but combined with journalism it has the ability to bring awareness to issues that can elevate understanding and compassion. It’s the basic reality of why I do what I do.”—Renée C. Byer

Approximately one out of six people live on a dollar a day. It’s a statistic that remains abstract for many who do not feel its implications on a day-to-day basis. That’s why photographer Renée C. Byer traveled to four continents to capture the circumstances of people living in extreme poverty—to give us the names and show us the faces of those it haunts. She shows us the poor whose lives are dominated by health problems that are treatable with modern medicine, who work hard in hazardous conditions for little pay, and who build homes on borrowed land because, like all human beings, they have to live somewhere. In Living on a Dollar a Day, Byer translates a stark statistic into stories so that we can more easily access our compassion and, hopefully, exercise our humanity.

Picture of weathered hands holding green beans.
The hard-worked hands of Jacaba Coaquira, 80, holding the green beans she grew on her land. This year the production of her land was affected by lack of rain and early cold weather that froze the crops before they finished growing.
Santiago de Okola, Bolivia.

BECKY HARLAN: Renée, tell me about your new book, Living on a Dollar a Day. How did you get involved with this huge project?

RENÉE C. BYER: The Forgotten International, a San Francisco-based non-profit, was seeking a photojournalist to work on the book. They focus on programs in the U.S. and worldwide that alleviate poverty and the suffering it brings, especially for women and children. I’m pretty well known for working on projects that shine a light on people who are suffering. People who may not have the ability to illuminate those issues themselves. So this was a dream assignment, frankly. The first thing I had to do, though, was to spend a few months figuring out how to carve out some time from working at The Sacramento Bee where I’m a Senior Photojournalist.

Picture of a father holding his young daughter in a clinic.
At the Mae Tao Clinic this 5-month old child receives free medical care for her burns. The child pulled a pot of hot water on herself as she was being watched by her 11-year old sister while her parents farmed. Here, her father, Zaw Win, and another child anxiously hope for her recovery.
Mae Sot, Thailand.

BECKY: You have worked for The Sacramento Bee for over a decade, yet you still manage to do these long-term projects. How do you balance daily stories with more in-depth documentary work?

RENÉE: I’ve done many longer term projects throughout my career, and some are very emotionally taxing, very challenging. So the daily assignment is a great break for me. Although it’s challenging to juggle the two, it also can be a relief for me. So shooting orchids in a beautiful greenhouse for a daily assignment is a luxury for me rather than traveling the globe to report on human tragedy of enormous proportions. I like the mix, frankly. It works well for me because it helps pace my emotions.

I’m also very focused in my own community. For example, I’ve done several stories on the California economy crisis even throughout working on Living On A Dollar A Day. I’m always trying to focus on issues that are important, whether they’re in my community or in someone else’s community. I feel like we all share this earth together and one always will impact another.

Picture of three people inside a structure, outside of the window is a polluted river.
Phay Phanna, 60, lost his leg when he stepped on a land mine in 1988 near the Cambodian-Thai border. He is a widower and is the sole head of his family, caring for 11 children in a home he does not own. It has been scheduled for demolition since being purchased by a private developer in 2008.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

BECKY: When you were working on your Pulitzer Prize-winning photo essay, A Mother’s Journey, which chronicles the relationship between a mother and her son as he struggled with Neuroblastoma, you clearly spent a lot of time with the family. How did you deal with working on Living on a Dollar a Day, a project where you spent a little time with a lot of different people?

RENÉE: You know, for me, spending time with my subjects is very important to make that intimate connection. When covering out-of-the country assignments, there are a lot of different variables, so first, depending on the countries, you might need an interpreter, security, a driver, a social worker, so it’s more difficult to get that one-on-one connection that you might get in the U.S. Your most important connection is with your helper, making them understand what you’re doing as a photojournalist. Working on A Mother’s Journey was actually very important to this because I could show the people I was working with that body of work and then they would understand what I was trying to accomplish.

Picture of a woman doing laundry while her daughter rests on her back.
Jestina Koko, 25, with her daughter Satta Quaye, 5. Crippled since the age of three, she depends on her arms to lift and drag herself. She survives by doing laundry for others, selling cookies on the street, and begging.
Monrovia, Liberia.

BECKY: So it’s still about connecting with people, but it’s about connecting with the people who are helping you connect to your subjects?

RENÉE: Yes, you’re still having to do it, but now you’re having to do it to educate the people in the country who are helping you. You can’t assume that they know what photojournalism is, so you’re having to explain storytelling. You have to start from the ground up. As I gained images and stories while I was working in different countries, I would show them those stories as well. Just like the story [from Living On A Dollar A Day] on Jestina Koko, that was where I had shown my previous work from other countries, and then the fixer saw what I was really trying to do and they said, “Oh we have this case scenario,” and they connected me to Jestina.

Picture of two young boys herding cattle in a green field
Two small boys are dwarfed in the African bush as they try to herd cattle. They herd the cows from sunrise to sunset with no hope of ever attending school.
The village of Dawa in the Volta Region of northern Ghana.

BECKY: Tell me about Jestina’s story.

RENÉE: She can’t walk, and so she drags herself about her home. Well she’s actually squatting in someone else’s home. They’re allowing her to sleep in this hallway with her child. I remember that her only hopes and dreams were first, to get herself a place, a little apartment or room that she and her daughter could live in so she wasn’t in this trafficky area in this other place, and also that her little girl could go to school. This is a great example of where a child is not able to go to school because she’s needed to help her mother. Her mother doesn’t have enough money to put her in school. The cycle for her is very grim. Everything is about getting from today to tomorrow. If it wasn’t for the good will of a neighbor she would be sleeping outside.

Jestina has struggled with this disability since the age of three. So she’s living and begging on the sides of the street. When it’s raining she can’t drag herself out, so she has to work really hard on days when the weather is nice to make up for that. She does laundry for other families, she makes cookies to try and sell, you can see how hard working she is. You see this in almost every country. Nobody is lacking the will to work, they just need a little bit of extra help to get out of the poverty cycle.

Picture of a mother and daughter sitting in the floor of a kitchen
Lidia Potcovirova can’t afford to send her daughter, Anastasia, 4, to school so she often accompanies her mother to work in the fields.
Fintinita, Moldova.

BECKY: You’re known for capturing really intimate, relational moments in your photo essays. Tell me about that.

RENÉE: Whether the story is done in the U.S. or abroad, the most important thing is to let it unfold on its own. Time and access are the essence of compelling photojournalism. I have this innate curiosity that drives me beyond the obvious. For me it’s very important to go behind the scenes and into their home to find pieces of daily life that everyone can relate to. So people aren’t seeing a photo that will push them away, but will pull them back into the scene. So they’re not being overwhelmed by the emotion, but they’re able to relate to the emotion. So that they can imagine themselves trying to live this life, and in some way, hopefully, they could help.

Picture of boys playing around, flinging their legs in the air
Three boys play on the bed their entire family shares. From the left are Ajit Kumar, 5, Dilip Kumar, 9, and Kuldeep Kumar, 10. The bed occupies their entire living space. Their home is located on a garbage dump.
Kusum Pahari slum, South Delhi, India.

For instance, we were at a slum in Delhi, and I see this little boy scavenging in this horrible garbage wasteland. He’s got bare hands, no protective clothing. He’s wearing flip flops, I think. And he’s looking for a few rags to sell as material to earn some money for his family. I’m standing there in insufferable heat, my shoes are literally melting it’s so hot, and all I’m thinking about, focusing on, is how can I tell this story about this little boy? No one else can smell this terrible smell that I’m smelling, nobody can feel this intense heat, nobody can imagine this wasteland that I’m standing in. How can I give this justice in a photograph? That’s what’s going on in my head. I’m trying very hard in my head to translate that to someone who has never been there. Later on, I went inside his family’s home. I had no idea what the inside of any of these places was like, so I was just stunned that it was this one tiny 10’ x10’ room with just a bed. That was their entire living space. And these boys just started playing on the bed. It was such a beautiful slice of life. It’s one of those moments that’s so unexpected that you just feel privileged to be witness of. To me it was such an interesting dichotomy between this child and his determination to try to find something to help his family survive and then later in the day having him play in this very childlike way on the bed with his brothers, and it was this range of emotion which is so important in this kind of work. It shows how the human spirit can transcend even the worst deprivation.

BECKY: What is next for you? Will you be returning to photograph any of these individuals featured in Living on a Dollar a Day?

RENÉE: This project was enormous. I’ve been working on it for three or four years, and I don’t see it ever leaving my life. I’m not sure where it’s going to go or where I’ll wind up. Right now I’m very focused on getting the pictures into the right places so that we can really try to motivate change—to work with the pictures that have already been made so that these voices can be heard. Everyone thinks that we live in this glamorous world, and of course part of being a photojournalist is making the images, but I find that people don’t understand that the biggest challenge is getting the photos in the right forum to motivate change.

Picture of a malnourished child crying.
Kalpana, 20, has five children. She starves one of her children, two year-old Sangeeta, in order to better elicit the sympathy of others and raise more money through begging to feed the remainder of her family. At the time of this photo, Sangeeta weighed only nine pounds. She has since been helped by the The Tong-Len Charitable Trust’s medical clinic.
Charan slum settlement, Dharamsala, India.

BECKY: Is there anything else that you want to add?

RENÉE: There’s one photo of a little girl that is being starved to death on purpose so that her mother can beg with her on the street to elicit money to feed her other children. You know the hardest part about those kinds of photographs is that they’re so alien or so foreign that people just can’t look at them. They just dismiss them and turn the page. Because it’s so unimaginable that it could be happening. It was one of the most egregious things I saw, frankly. It’s unimaginable to us, but for the mother it was all she could think to do. And that just gets to the depth of depravity that’s out there. This mom can’t think of another way to survive without sacrificing one of her children. The picture was so harrowing that I fear people will just dismiss it and turn the page instead of really looking into the eyes of this child. Could you even imagine your baby looking like this—being two years old and only weighing nine pounds?

It’s very very easy to look at these images as if they’re not real, but they are real. This does exist. The biggest challenge is making that connection, so that people understand that there are 18,000 children under the age of five dying every day from causes that are preventable. I’m serious. How can that be happening in this day and age? And that’s why this book is a call to action. I hope in my lifetime that we can make a difference, and eradicate this—that we can have a shared humanity.

Renée C. Byer is a represented by Zuma Press. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winner, a Senior Photojournalist at The Sacramento Bee, and the photographer for The Forgotten International’s book, Living on a Dollar a Day, which was released in early April 2014. To learn more about how you can help TFI alleviate poverty, visit their webpage.

There are 94 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Manoj Pandey
    January 28, 2015

    Am shock, sad and emotional seeing those people who tried them best in order to live, I hope I could help them

  2. Clare Hanbury
    July 3, 2014

    After 25 years working all over the world I have never seen such a collection of unbelievably good and moving images. The cover photo sums up why we at “Children for Health” do what we do. I think there is also scope to grow the positive from many of these images, the nurture, the playfulness, the love of chilren for each other…

  3. Donna
    April 27, 2014

    Paul McCartney has a commercial about mistreatment of animals. His solution is to STOP EATING THEM. Eating animals contributes to mass producttion and intolerable conditions. If you want to do something about the sad conditions so aptly portrayed here it seems that any donation to the solution for shortage of food and
    ongoing starvation must contribute at least half of it’s funding to BIRTH CONTROL. I agree with Helen. Lack of birth control is more of a problem than the supposed apathy of
    others. When is the world going to wake up to the fact that overcrowding always leads to misery and eventually the demise of our planet? For all those who wish to please their God I would strongly suggest limiting your number of children so that they can continue to enjoy this marvelous creation. Privileges come with responsibilities.

  4. Vimal
    April 27, 2014

    This pictures are reality, which always existed, but thanks to technology and perseverance of few people, who are trying to make us all aware.
    Unfortunately we read this like one more newpaper article and thanks to our short memory, we go back to our busy life. Some donate money , and think
    they have done their part. I think time has come we set a “Model Living Solution” with respect to resources available in a particular region.
    Food/Water/Home/Basic Health/Basic Education/Internet . It will involve contribution from Modern/Knowlegable/Gifted individuals , to set foundation
    for self-sustainment of a region. It’s just routing right resources/knowledge, and not re-inventing the wheel.
    Am a successful IT professional, working in US and I think it’s time to give back. I am hunting around Tools/Ideas/Donations solutions which can help create this
    Self-sustainment evolving Model. My Regional contacts are in Rajasthan(India), where most of population falls under this category “$1 a day”.
    It’s a desert, so water is big challenge – storage etc. It’s all Sun, throughout the year, so scope of Solar energy utilization for power hungry region.
    On positive front, its international tourism spot, amazing food, music, camels, temples, forts,handicrafts. What am trying to say is, every region is unique on this planet,
    and we need to come together and fill the gap which will enable it to survive by itself. So if we can plugin solution for Water/Electricity, and market what it has to sell, am sure
    it will rise like any other civilization. And once it’s done successfully, it will be a Model to just replicate. So lets “Adopt a Village”.
    Do share Tools/Technologies/Ideas which you think can help me/us. Let’s Thank God for Gifting us with so much , which we usually take for granted.

  5. Dana Whitaker
    April 22, 2014

    Dear Renee, Thank you for your life-affirming work. When I learned about the unbelievable depth and breadth of poverty in 2002, I decided to do something about it. Like you, I spent 3 years traveling the globe, photographing and interviewing some of the world’s poorest yet most resilient women (and a few men) who are using microfinance to help pull themselves and their families free of poverty’s dehumanizing grip. Like you, getting the photos and stories out there and providing pathways for those who can help eradicate poverty is my goal as well. I look forward to seeing your book. BTW, my book is “Transforming Lives $40 at a Time, Women + Microfinance: Upending the Status Quo” and can be seen at: http://www.openingeyes.net. BRAVO to you, Renee! It would be a privilege to have our paths cross. Dana Whitaker

  6. Chad
    April 22, 2014

    Am shock, sad and emotional seeing those people who tried them best in order to live, I hope I could help them…

  7. rose
    April 21, 2014

    They need to be cared… They really need help and we need to stop and just think about it… Of course teaching how to fishing would be more helpful but now, they just need any, ANY, helps from the world. Like these pictures, there are war victims too in the world. Maybe we should look more deeply to the people… As the prophet Muhammad said; ” The person who sleeps full when his neighbor sleeps hungry, can’t be among us.”

  8. Julie
    April 20, 2014

    I believe that only rich people from rich countries whom reality is so far away from those pictures can be feeling or caring.Truth is that poverty is around the world in 6 continents for thousands of years. There are poor and happy people. You don´t need to do anything. Let demography do by itself. If you adopt a child or a family, you are assuming this economical issue for the rest of your life. If you are a couple with no kids who adopted a dog and instead can´t have kids, so there is the willing for that, adopt a child and make difference. Don´t give money to this people. They have to know how to survive by themselves, working. That´s human selection as Darwin said and not charity.

  9. Esther Nelson
    April 18, 2014

    I am shocked to see that tiny two year old. The amount of pain in her eyes is astounding! I want to help. What can a single mom do that is struggling herself to provide for her four old daughter. I would starve before allowing her to.

  10. Emily
    April 17, 2014

    The picture of the two year old breaks my heart, but I am glad these photos are out there to raise awareness of this extremely important issue that seems to be lacking in awareness to some. To raise that awareness is one of the critical first steps to making a difference.

  11. Huang
    April 17, 2014

    Let’s do something for them

  12. Kati
    April 17, 2014

    People are so obsessed and overwhelmed getting Oscars and being the first in army forces, becoming rich and buying new Bugattis that they even don’t pay any attention to the poor countries. Open eyes and think more global. At the end of the life it doesn’t matter how much money is in your purse…

  13. Abhishek
    April 17, 2014

    I really appreciate ur efforts to bring such topic up. we all really need to think and do something about the weak part of our society ,psychologically and financially.

  14. Ronald
    April 17, 2014

    I read all the comments, they are good comments and suggestions, however, does anyone do something about it???? It doesn’t take any effort to make these comments from your from the comfort of one’s home, but is anyone going out and actually going to do something about???? How much money is made on the book, pictures, organizations, advertisings, etc. and how much of that money goes to these unfortunate people???? There was one comment that really made sense “IF ONE WELL TO DO FAMILLY WOULD ADOPT A STARVING FAMILY, THAT WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEM” all we need is an organization with volunteers making it possible, how one could get such family and how to get in touch with them, making it easy for any one to help directly with a needed family, that would help, it is easy to make a comment while your refrigerator is full and you have a pension or good job to go to with a car that you can afford to fill at today’s prices, according to the “live on a dollar a day” can you imagine that one gallon represents four days, just for one second imagine how many days it cost when you travel just one hundred miles.
    I am no better, but it made me think and remember wwII, I am one of the last generation that survived the Holocaust. Than you to give me the opportunity to get this off my chest.
    And next time you take a bite, think of how many would die for that bite.

  15. Juhi
    April 17, 2014

    I too sometimes look at such sad pictures and move on because I dont want to see the anguish in them. The picture of the girl that is being starved is so moving that I almost shed a tear. Kudos to Becky Harlan for capturing the raw human emotion. Its a masterpiece, the picture which can speak 1000 words.

  16. Boris
    April 17, 2014

    Comments wont help them…what do we do for this poverty…have you asked your self….

  17. Oki
    April 17, 2014

    A work that opens our conscience.

  18. Marie Chapman
    April 17, 2014

    Absolutely heart breaking to see that little child being starved.
    Those pictures really make you take a good hard look at your own life and make you realise just how good you have it!

  19. lesie
    April 17, 2014

    Heartbreaking truth and reality of our world especially to the third world country who have to work non stop have food serve on the table.
    Perfectly captured to show the world thier life story.

  20. Darren
    April 16, 2014

    Life sometimes is really harsh.
    People suffer from all kinds of pain.

  21. sahmara
    April 16, 2014

    Very powerful. This definitely changed my life.

  22. katherine
    April 16, 2014

    how may i send a budget to the 25yr old handicapped sleeping in the hallway…directly to her

  23. Hannah
    April 16, 2014

    This kind of photography is hard to take in, and I’m sure so much harder to actually take, but this is needed. These photos touched and inspired me.

  24. Ruby
    April 16, 2014

    It is as if though walking in to poverty with a camera educated and prepared to win a prize should make a difference, but it does not the difference is made by the person who has the means to find a way to help others with organizations that could conjur profits to establish a contribution center by the dump or for the laundering crippled mother etc… It is offensive and heartwrenching at the same time to know these points are made and solutions are not established to show progress. In essence making the pulitzer prize winning fotographer just as poor as those she comes in contact with.

  25. junnu ravi kumar
    April 16, 2014

    I am from india. The only thing i can say is india is not a poor country but what it lacks is educating people on how they can make their lives better with the already available fecilities or programmes .for example there was free education ,free mid-day meals in the govt. Schools .minimum employement etc …..but all these are not able to reach people who are unaware of the programmes that govt. Hold.

  26. bhargav
    April 16, 2014

    Ya these photos are just creating illusions….. the situations are not as look like as it seems… doing nothing and remains poor is most reach person in the world…. But some person after being reach they feels like themselves poor… This is the sign of poverty…..its just state of mind

  27. Bob
    April 16, 2014

    As long as few people get rich or just have a better life taking advantage of those who are ignorant , poor and reproductive then they will always grow and proliferate faster than those who could have improved their numbers conditions.

  28. Lyndsay
    April 16, 2014

    I agree with A Nunez…it makes you feel good to throw out that cliche knee jerk response, “oh we must pray for them blah blah blah.” Did you notice in a couple of the pictures these people had their own prayer offerings or the one where the entire family lived in a bed at the local dump…they even had a shrine set up to offer pray to their god. Obviously prayer is not enough.
    Don’t just pray for these people, investigate charities and aid organizations and decide which is best. And then give! Nothing will change until we all do this…

  29. Tony
    April 16, 2014

    It is very sad that we, Americans, live such full lives in so many respects and there are some that have never fathomed some of the liberties, freedoms and rights as we do. These stories tell many stories of the selfish nature in man!!!

  30. Murat
    April 16, 2014

    Very painful to look at but at the same time very real. It is indeed very heart-breaking to see children suffer. Renée Byer has captured the incredible pictures and I hope that her pictures do help us understand that there are children and people out there (even in our neighbourhood) living under the worst circumstances and that we should a) reach out and try to help instead of turning our backs b) be thankful for what we have. Keep up the good work.

  31. Greg
    April 16, 2014

    We I started reading this article I thought it would be naive ultruism but by the end I see it is real , positive and effective. Such great important work…..

  32. Liliana Ticlla
    April 16, 2014

    Es terrible ver esas escenas desgarradoras como quisiera tener mucho dinero y poder ayudarlos hay muchisima gente en el mundo que se esta muriendo de hambre mientras que aqui de se tira la comida a la basura….aprecio y doy gracias a Dios por su bondad el permitirme ayudar a mi familia pero que onda con esos que sufren especialmente los nenes…

    April 16, 2014

    It is so sad but this is the reality on the ground we those that live in these environment can testify to this the world must do something.

  34. Mez
    April 16, 2014

    Ran a chill down my spine. I feel so useless in this world. I try to do my bit but it seems so little now.

  35. Jenny
    April 16, 2014

    Helen, I agree 100%! It is irresponsible to have children under these circumstances. The worst part is that many that help are religious organizations that are against birth control so while they preach they actually do harm by not educating these people on birth control and I’m sorry but it is discusting that a mother could choose a child to starve!

    April 16, 2014

    We wish we could change this world. Amazing report and great pictures. Congratulations.

  37. Hector
    April 16, 2014

    Blame the government for the role of all the famlily…..got money for war but can’t feed the poor

  38. george tubei
    April 16, 2014

    the power of photography! some of thses photos are so deep you feel their enomous weight on your shoulder you justb want to help. so so deep.

  39. Anne
    April 16, 2014

    Oh those hands (Jacaba Coaquira), I want to kiss those hands. I want to hold and caress them and feel their every wrinkle, their callous skin; telling her how important she is to this world. She may not gain anything material or fame but her hands have played a big role on this earth. Oh those hands!

  40. David Chile
    April 16, 2014

    I don’t find it hard to believe but my eyes are full of tears. Much of human suffering is induced by man himself out of greed. What comforts me is that we all share one thing in the end, death.

  41. Laxmi
    April 16, 2014

    Wow…. Thumbs up for u.

  42. Esther
    April 16, 2014

    My solution to world poverty: every ‘privileged’ person or family ‘adopts’ a person or family, in their own way; be it money, books, an hour of teaching, medical supplies (contraceptives!) directly or indirectly through organizations like this. The earth can be restored and humanity more whole. Thank you Ms Byer for your fantastic work!

  43. Honar
    April 16, 2014

    It was stunning experience to look at these pictures. She did an amazing work. We need to overcome poverty. Very emotional photo hope people will work hand by hand to eradicated poverty in near future.

  44. mc
    April 16, 2014

    I am speechless …. thanks for the pictures about poverty, I realize how lucky i am., to be happy and content for what i am

  45. mojtaba
    April 16, 2014

    so impressive!!!!

  46. Josh
    April 15, 2014

    Does anyone know of a way to help out people like jestina? I would very much like to know if there is. Incredible. It’s always good to see what others are dealing with when we don’t get much of it on cable TV. Makes me take a step back and think about how I live my own life. Thank you

  47. Irma
    April 15, 2014

    Los casos tan extremos que existen en el mundo, unos cuantos que cobran una millonada por una película o por un partido de fútbol, mientras tanta gente vive en condiciones verdaderamente inhumano. No hay un balance. Y es tan triste y que impotencia da.

  48. Serafin M. Sablawan Jr.
    April 15, 2014

    Hindi kailangang lumayo,ikutin ang mundo sapagkat kahit saan ka bumaling ng tingin makikita mo ang kahirapan at tila ba walang kasagutang tanong na bakit laganap ang kahirapan at kagutuman gayung mayaman ang inang kalikasan.saan nga ba ang mali.alin nga ba ang kulang? At sino ba ang pwede at makakatulong ng pang matagalang solusyon? Ang masakit lang…… Mga batang paslit ang nagdurusa ng kahirapan,kagutuman at tila walang maayos na buhay sa darating na bukas! God bless this poor little young ones! Me and my families prayer will make mention of you.

  49. Craig
    April 15, 2014

    It’s heart-wrenching to see that poor
    Starving girl, that’s not right I hope she is ok. Very good picture though to
    Communicate that is an accomplishment.

  50. waruna
    April 15, 2014

    This is all about the misery of life that we all are experiencing. The Karma is always on our head but people who are out of such horrible situation DO not think about the results of their present acts and do everything to feed this flesh & bloody Body against our Soul. The Best thing is to understand the misery of life and do the rest of work by keep in mind that any one can fall into this situation as a result of bad activities they did in past births.

  51. Linda
    April 15, 2014

    Excellent story ! Was wondering have you covered in stories about the families in Peru? And what you think of Compassion? Based out if Colorado Springs.. Thanks fir Sharing all excellent store use to remind us how blessed we all are in the US..,

  52. lanie
    April 15, 2014

    humanity at its worst.:(but thank you renee byer for the pictures.

  53. Pamela
    April 15, 2014

    I can clearly feel the pain of those parents and those children living in terrible conditions

  54. Marcos Bayana
    April 15, 2014

    If only the rich, powerful countries of this world put their act together and help, save all the people from poverty instead of spending billions in arms that kill. IF ONLY!
    There are also people in my country (Philippines) living below poverty line, eating once a day or sometimes not at all. I can send you pictures of poverty in my country Ms. Byer.

  55. Pedro Valenzuela
    April 15, 2014

    Cuando hay gente que espera ansiosa dia y noche esperando la puesta en venta de un smartphone o un galaxy de quinientos o más dolares. No hay razón

  56. skimmommy
    April 15, 2014

    I cannot unsee that poor starving baby Sangeeta. This image is heartbreaking and haunting. I know what her destiny is and I wish I could go get her.

  57. Helen
    April 15, 2014

    I pitty all these people for sure, there’s no doubt people are living hard in some parts of the world. What I don’t understand is why, under these conditions, people keep having babies. My parents only had me, hoping they can provide me with everything I need, from good and healthy food and warm shelter to good education. I don’t understand why when you see you live hard, when you see your neighbours living hard, when you see everyone around you living hard, you still have 5 kids. That is, I’m sorry, true inhumanity: bringing in this world a child for whom you can not provide the basics.

  58. Ankeet Rathod
    April 15, 2014

    Brave, honest and emotional.. I come from india wherein govt is taking steps to eradicate poverty, but some corrupt officials make it impossible.. Some people work for poor but others dont care.. I feel every individual should spend time on holidays to educate them and help.. As i believe in ‘poverty is the cause of poverty’ which can be reduced by making people literate so that they know to earn and work.. Or else their poor life will be as it is..

  59. Annie
    April 15, 2014

    I live in India and I witness harrowing lives all the time and I truly appreciate your hard work in spreading the message of universal compassion.

  60. Annie
    April 15, 2014

    I have been working in refugee camps in Africa , the Middle East and Asia for the last 10 years. There are thousands of girls aged 8-14 years forced into marriage to old men who eventually die and let them raise their numerous children in abject poverty because she never had a chance to go to school, even when schooling is Free. Don’t blame the victims. Most of the time we can do little to help them because there is no money to fund “non-essential” programs – that is, aything beyond food and shelter.
    You may look up the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) to donate to support the victims of the conflict in Central Africa, or any other area you choose.
    The organization uses up to 10% of donations towards administrative fees.
    No organization can donate 100% to a starving child – obviously there are running costs such as transportation, communication, office rental and so on. However, accountability and transparency are in order.

  61. Ninette
    April 15, 2014

    Giving names to the people in your photos does make it more real. While being aware of poverty in the world, we are not really aware, are we? God bless, keep getting those images out into the world and maybe one day?

  62. gary
    April 15, 2014

    I recently went to India and couldn’t believe the poverty there. I met one family who invited me into there home. My plan is to help them as much as I am able. It is impossible to cure the imbalance of those who have
    and those who don’t.

  63. Alcira Revette
    April 15, 2014

    Es increíble los triste que es ver estas fotos y continuar con nuestras vidas, como si no pasase nada. Qué hacer? Cómo ayudar?

  64. Millie Newman
    April 15, 2014

    Oppression that others will be held accountable for!

  65. Bounana Gharbieh
    April 15, 2014

    The most effective picture is the one that a “mother” Kalpana, 20, who has five children. She starves one of her children, two year-old Sangeeta, in order to better elicit the sympathy of others and raise more money through begging to feed the remainder of her family. That is a crucial fact, that shows the source of mercy (a mother) sacrifice one of her kids to rescue her other ones…..where as lots of people throw food as trash… Alas.

  66. Donna
    April 15, 2014

    So thankful for Renee’s work that is highlighting this age-old problem. When will we learn? Surprised by the comments that sound like people haven’t seen this or aren’t aware of it. Where have you been? Don’t blame God. Blame yourself. Shame on us!

  67. glaiza
    April 15, 2014

    despite from the crisis that im experiencing right now im still lucky that i could still ate three times a day ,poor child,may God bless them.more power to you Renee you did a great job,you open the door of reality so that everyone could see what was happening out there.

  68. Deep
    April 15, 2014

    I am thinking, whether I am rich or poor than these people…..

  69. mary trusel
    April 15, 2014

    thank you for being brave enough to take these pictures and bring back to us..

  70. Anna
    April 15, 2014

    “the hardest part about those kinds of photographs is that they’re so alien or so foreign that people just can’t look at them. They just dismiss them and turn the page. Because it’s so unimaginable that it could be happening.”
    This is what I cannot comprehend that people are suffering all over the world there are more of them than whom live in comfort and no one does a thing about it. Of course I’m not talking about people like this amazing photoghapher but the people in high authority ,the actual people who could make a big difference avert their eyes just to gain more for their own advantage. This is what frightens me in this world, the cruelty and greed. I really hope that Renée C. Byer will acheive her goal and makes the humanity realize the monstrosity these human beings are going through day by day and decide to help them and not dismiss this worldwide issue.

  71. Ray
    April 15, 2014

    this is so tragic in a world of so much.
    there are those who have so much and then there are those who have so little. makes you wonder ………………..

  72. Deborah
    April 15, 2014

    Shame on some of us for not appreciating what we have. I’m sorry to say I sometimes fall into that category. Thank you for the reminder and God Bless these people.

  73. Aimee Lowery
    April 15, 2014

    This is heartbreaking. People should stand up and do Something! When it takes so little to help, this leaves you wondering how could we stand by and let this happen. Thank you for exposing me to this. Come on let’s do something. That poor baby being starved, the sorrow in his eyes, it’s heart wrenching.

  74. Brianna
    April 15, 2014

    Renee, Thank you. For my part, one person, you have prompted me to contact Forgotten Intl to set up a gift. Their 12 points in their mission statement, really says it. That poor babies suffering shall not be in vain, not by me or many of the readers who your worked has touched, as can be seen by these comments.

  75. Anil Singh
    April 15, 2014

    Although though I know this world is full of misery,pain and what not,but I am stunned,wish I could do something…hats off to Renee C. Byer, you have a wonderful heart,thanks for your efforts ,may God bless you.

  76. Renee C. Byer
    April 15, 2014

    Thank-you all for your comments. The starving baby I documented was helped by the foundation and Buddhist Monks so that child is now okay but there are 18,000 dying a day so help is still needed for many children below the age of 5 and the book gives great resources after every chapter on organizations to help. You can also contact the Forgotten International directly. Also, the United National Millennium Developmental Goals are up for review in 2015 and my hope is that this book will bring the stark reality to those that meet to review these issues in regard to global poverty.

  77. Marsha
    April 15, 2014

    How could I help little Sangeeta?
    This so sad but I am glad that I seen her.

  78. sarah Taylor
    April 15, 2014

    This is amazing. Thank you for your courage and raw honesty.

  79. Kerry
    April 15, 2014

    This is heart breaking. i really hope that people see these pictures and read the stories behind them and realize that this is really happening. And not just n other countries…here in the U.S. as well. glad to c that light is being shed on the true hardships that many ignore and many have to endure.

  80. Luisa
    April 15, 2014

    Poverty isnt a problem for those that sufer it. Worldwide should help to poor people, if all do it this world will be better.

  81. Nicole Tamana
    April 15, 2014

    so sad.. if there is any way to help them instead of just taking and looking at pics and saying only words…! please notify us

  82. sadie Howse
    April 15, 2014

    Renee you are such a strong person to take a picture of the poor child who was being deprived of food in order to feed the rest of the family!!….horrific and hard to look at. Thank you for sharing such pictures so people are exposed to the extreme poverty and drastic situations people endure and hopefully this will promote change and more help.

  83. Ina
    April 15, 2014

    Any man’s death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee. ..

  84. Monica
    April 15, 2014

    World vision feeds them.

  85. Jennifer Zahgkuni
    April 15, 2014

    Jennifer, there are many good nonprofits to choose from and many are listed in each chapter of “Living on a Dollar a Day.” Check out http://www.theforgottenintl.org and contact me if you wish. We dedicate 100% of program donations to whatever country or project you wish to designate. We also have a Children’s Fund whereby you can support one child or family exclusively. Best wishes and thank you for your concern.

  86. Beth
    April 15, 2014

    It is heart wrenching to see the misery of my fellow humans. I have had experiences of first hand encounters with the other 3/4 of this world. It is overwhelming, but what I eventually figured out was to focus on just one person/family to help. Not just help, but to get to know and to. Be a friend. Thanks for sharing and bringing to light our fellow humans

  87. mayank
    April 15, 2014

    i ve no words to say these images are very devastating. on one had the world claims to be very oraganised and well in every aspect in 2014 specially developing countries, but on the other hand these images shows what the reality is( specially of these countries). this is very distressing situation that the world is going through and that need to be considered very seriously and collaborative steps should be taken by the govt and non govt agencies to improve and try to eradicate this kind of situation. every person on this planet has the right t live.

  88. Damien Carolan
    April 15, 2014

    I would love to maybe send money to that woman who starves her child is there any way of doing this ???

  89. Beata
    April 15, 2014

    Unnerving rather than heartbreaking, upsetting and demoralizing… to think of this kind of level of physical suffering is beyond my comprehension.

  90. A Nunez
    April 15, 2014

    And “god” is no where to be found. When will people see, that prayer , does not work, these people can’t eat a prayer, a prayer will not keep them warm and safe. Undo your hands and help!

  91. Fatma kamel
    April 15, 2014

    I am speechless ,this is horrible!i wish they could all share my house with me!!!

  92. mariana medina
    April 15, 2014

    lamentablemente esto se ve en muchas partes el mundo y uno vive moderadamente bien y muchas beses se queja …. quiero ayudar a la muchacha de 20 años con 5 hijos … yo tengo dos y me muero si no tienen algo para comer .. prefiero tomar mate todo el dia pero que a ellos no les falte el plato de comida … si de casualidad te quedaste con un dato de como mandarle dinero a ella o un correo algo … quiero mandarle plata pero que sea ella la que lo retire quiero que le llege a sus manos el dinero …. desde ya muchas gracias mariana

  93. jennifer
    April 15, 2014

    What organization can we donate to ona monthly basis where 90-100% of the donations go to feed these children?? I want to help at least one child. 🙁

  94. victor
    April 15, 2014

    Thanks for the pictures about poverty over the world.

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