Living On A Dollar A Day: The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor, is a powerful and extraordinary series of photographs and profiles by Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Renée C. Byer, whose work illuminates the human faces of people who live in extreme poverty around the world. Traveling to 10 countries on four continents, Byer sought out individuals and families on the brink of survival – living on about one U.S. dollar each day. The exhibition stems from the collaboration on a book of the same name with author Tom Nazario the founder and president of The Forgotten International in San Francisco, California.
The people in Byer’s compelling profiles share their hardships, their joys, and their dreams for the future with her. Often with little hope of changing their own destiny, they dream of something better for their children. In her searing and tender images, accompanied by stories shared by people whose trust she gained, Byer gives voice to those who would not otherwise be heard.
In Living on a Dollar a Day, Byer translates the stark statistics of global poverty so that we can more easily access our compassion and, hopefully be inspired to exercise our humanity through education and then action. Byer’s heartfelt call to raise awareness and promote change is more urgent and timely than ever. The Sustainable Development Goals, ratified in September, 2015 by all 193 countries in the United Nations, are guiding efforts to eliminate poverty and hunger by 2030.
POSITIVE CHANGE CAN HAPPEN
Through her collaboration with A Fourth Act, Renée aims to reinvent how we experience photo exhibitions by bridging the power of stories that build awareness and turn compassion and empathy into social action. By using an innovative mobile web app, YouBridge.It, along with Renée’s photos, the interactive photo exhibit can engage visitors to participate in an interactive and powerful experience that goes beyond raising awareness.
As they walk through the gallery, YouBridge.It offers the photo exhibition visitors an opportunity to dive deeper into the issues behind the stories and makes tangible actions available at their fingertips. Byer’s photos are an emotional invitation to learn about the root causes of extreme poverty and hunger, and to take simple but concrete actions in 10 areas as illustrated with the selected images below. A strong believer that positive change can happen, she encourages us to be part of it by shifting the language from problem-focused to a solution-oriented one.
In the Charan slum settlement of northern India, Kalpana, 20, starves one of her children, Sangeeta, 2, while her sister, Sarita, 5-months old, right, sleeps in comfort in her mother's arms. Sangeeta weighs just 9 pounds. Children are more likely to appeal to the sympathy of those inclined to give to beggars, so those who beg use children for this purpose. Worse, sometimes as in this case, a child is starved and carried about by the child's parent who begs on the streets, or is rented out to another beggar.
LIVING WITH FISTULA
Barbara Alfred, 15, lives in an orphanage in Monrovia, Liberia. She was raped by two of her uncles and left with a fistula that makes her unable to control her urine. She has been isolated from others at the orphanage and has been forced to sleep on only metal springs.
CHILD HERDER IN BOLIVIA
Following the death of his father, Alvaro Kalancha Quispe, 9, helps his family survive by herding. He opens the gate to the stone pen that holds the family's alpacas and llamas each morning so they can graze throughout the hillsides during the day. He then heads off to school, but must roundup the animals in the evening, in the Akamani mountain range of Bolivia.
HOPING FOR A MIRACLE
Four-year-old Ana-Maria Tudor stands in the light of her doorway in Bucharest, Romania, hoping for a miracle as her family faces eviction from the only home they have ever known. Her father developed an infection following recent gallbladder surgery that has left him unable to work. The one room they live in has no bathroom or running water.
SHELTER FROM THE RAIN
Known as "Little Cowboys," in their Ghanaian village, these four boys seek cover from the rain as they keep a watchful eye on cows they were herding. The children say they are not allowed to bring the cows home in bad weather for fear that they will be beaten. They also live in fear of snakes after their father went blind and a brother died from snakebites; they say they’ve beaten three snakes to death in the past year.
THE CYCLE CONTINUES
Labone, 27, takes a moment to hold her young daughter Nupur, 1, who was fathered by a client, before she has to return to her evening's work in a brothel in Jessore, Bangladesh. Most children born into the sex trade follow the same cycle of abuse as their mothers. With more than half of its population living below the poverty line, Bangladesh remains one of the poorest countries in the world
Anderson Suarez Orihuela, 4, plays peek-a-boo as he hides behind a mesh bag and peeks out at the world around him in Lima, Peru. The poor in developing countries depend on two main livelihoods: recycling and farming. Many children are needed to help their mother’s work and as a result like Anderson can’t go to school.
Outside Phnom Penh Cambodia, Panha Sak, 2, runs alongside the polluted waterways of his home. This area also doubles as his playground. More than one billion of the world’s people lack adequate access to clean drinking water, and an estimated 400 million of these are children. Illness from unclean water causes children to miss roughly 443 million school days every year.
WORKING TO SURVIVE
In an e-waste dump that kills nearly everything that it touches, Fati, 8, works with other children searching through hazardous waste in hopes of finding whatever she can to exchange for pennies in order to survive. While balancing a bucket on her head with the little metal she has found, tears stream down her face as the result of the pain that comes with the malaria she contracted some years ago. This is work she must do to survive.
SOLAR POWERED SHOWER
At the Charan slum settlement, children enjoy a morning shower, something never available to them before, which gives them a clean start to the day and some relief from India’s often debilitating heat. The solar powered shower facility was a gift from the Tong-Len Charitable Trust in Dharamsala, India.
If you're interested in having The Interactive Exhibition in your area, please contact us today! All images from this project are copyright of Renée C. Byer and available for licensing.