Individuals living in extreme poverty face a range of challenges, depending on their age, their family size, their occupation, and other circumstances. This week, Macoleta, George, and Elizabeth spoke to our team about their own personal hardships, and how they plan to spend their transfers.

These stories offer a glimpse into the remarkably diverse lives of our recipients. Every household’s challenges are unique, unlike the challenges of any other household. Unconditional cash transfers empower recipients to spend their money in a way uniquely suited to improving their own lives.


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Macoleta, age 80, lives alone. She cannot move well because she is handicapped. Macoleta has a trustee named Grace, aged 33, who serves her helper. Grace also helps two other GiveDirectly recipients in the area. 
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Macoleta: I am old and have no energy for doing anything. I have to rely on my granddaughter to help me do the most simple things like bathing.


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George, age 33, lives with his wife Mourine, and three children.


George: I plan to use the first transfer to buy some iron sheets which I will use to expand my house so that it is bigger. I will use the second transfer to buy a motorcycle, which I will use for my transportation business.

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My biggest challenge is that the last harvest was very small, so we are currently facing a food insecurity [problem]. Getting the money to buy the little food that is available is also difficult.


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Elizabeth, age 72, lives alone. Elizabeth is a subsistence farmer.

Elizabeth: I would like to use part of the money to buy a cow for milk. Secondly, I would wish to expand my house since it very small. Lastly, I would like to buy ropes for fishing so that I can generate income from there.

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My biggest hardship is finding food for my family.

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