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New Year’s notes from GiveDirectly recipients

Every day we talk to dozens of recipients to get feedback, find out how things are working out for them, and ask if there’s anything we can do to improve our own processes. This week we selected several recipients at random, and asked if they wanted to share any end of year thoughts with the broader GiveDirectly community. Over the phone, GiveDirectly’s field staff talked to these recipients, and translated their messages into English. All of the below asked us to edit their words slightly to fit this format, the substance of the messages are the recipients’ own words.

A note from Pamela: My name is Pamela. I live in Siaya County, Kenya, with my husband Daniel and our three children: Brian, Elizabeth, and Catherine.

Pamela in front of colorful orange curtain

I want to thank you for the cash transfer that we received through GiveDirectly. Through the cash transfer, I was able to buy metal sheets, timber, nails, windows and doors which I used to construct a new house. I used a small portion of the transfer to boost my business. I also used part of the transfer to buy a small parcel of land at a nearby shopping center which I hope to develop in the future when funds become available.

These donations go a long way to help poor people who live in our village. When we pull together, we can achieve a lot as human beings.

I would like to take this opportunity to send New Years wishes on my behalf and that of my family to all our donors and your families wherever you are in different parts of the world. I pray to God to grant you strength, great health and wisdom in the year 2016 and beyond. May God shower you with blessings.

A note from Grace:  I would like to say to donors that they changed my life from a nobody to a somebody. I will forever owe my life and that of my family to those donors who have big hearts and love for the poor people of our community. I now live in a tin roof house which is spacious, I sleep on a comfortable mattress and warm beddings, and my family can now enjoy meals with quality utensils.

Grace inside her house

I would like to wish the donors a happy new year and great success as they embark on their usual programs in the year 2016. I pray for them to have the gift of faith and blessings, peace, love, and happiness.

A note from Benjamin: My name is Benjamin. I live in Bukedea District, Uganda.

Benjamin wearing a blue shirt in front of an earthen wall

I thank the donors for their generosity of giving the money, God bless them mightily. Let them give generously to the people in need because many of the donations have helped, as evidenced in the way they have used the money. Let others give as well so that lives of the poor are made better.

I pray that the merciful and gracious hand of God bless and increase them more years to live. God should also protect and give them more wisdom since God is the source of wisdom.

A note from Stephen: My name is Stephen. I live in Bukedea District, Uganda, with my wife Sylvia and our child Jesca, who is eight months old.

Stephen in front of mulberry cloth

I married my wife by paying the bride price that was required by my in-laws and I bought food, clothing, and household items like cups, plates, curtains, and a table. I now want to buy a motorcycle and open up a shop to earn extra income for my family.

I am very grateful to the donors for the help they gave us. Let them continue with the same generosity towards to the poor. I want to encourage them to give, so that the lives of the poor improve and they can lead decent lives. Let them continue to give so that peoples’ lives become better. Let them be ushered into the New Year in good health and with more blessings.

A note from Sarah: We are very happy as a family for the help the donors gave to us. I bought household items like plates, cups, a bed, mattress, bed sheets, a cow to rear, food, and clothes.

Sarah wearing a hair covering

I encourage donors to give so that they get blessings from God. And I pray that they get ushered to the New Year well with many blessings to them and their families.

A note from Esther: I live in Bukedea District, Uganda, with my seven children, Francis, Augustine, Marion, Winnie, Simon, Anne, and Richard. My husband, Simon, has passed away.

Esther standing in front of thatched hut

I very happy for the help GiveDirectly extended to me as a widow, God bless them. I built an iron roofed house for our children and also completed one iron roofed house my late husband left behind incomplete just before he passed on. I bought food, clothes, a mattress, and bed sheets. I pray that the GiveDirectly community is ushered into the New Year peacefully and continue to support especially those villages which have not yet benefited.

A note from Alfred: I am very happy because the money helped me. I have never got such help ever since I was born. It’s the first of its kind for me to get in life. I used this money for hiring land to cultivate, I also used the money to boost my business and pay school fees for my children.

Alfred in front of earthen wall

Let God bless the donors for having such a generous heart open to giving to helping the poor. Let them also encourage their friends to help the poor because God will surely bless them. Since they blessed us as is written in the Bible that, “blessed is the hand that gives,” let God bless them and their families. We also hope to meet them in the years to come.

A note from Atieno: I am a 77-year-old widow, with four children. I am sure I will live longer since I have better roofing and a cow that gives me milk. Even though I am old, I still wish to enjoy the niceties of life. I now want to plaster my house and eat good food. I have large tract of land that is idle and I would wish to produce food from it.

Atieno in front of a field

I offer my sincere prayers to all the people who are thinking of donating. May the spirit of the Lord almighty lead them as they donate. Even the Bible tells us clearly that we need to help the poor, the needy, feed the hungry, and support the orphans and widows. In the new year, let the GiveDirectly community continue to serve God by helping the poor. Through them, many people in our village live dignified lives. Men have paid dowry to their wives and people have built tin roof houses among many other things.

A note from Mary: I spent my transfer on buying building materials which I used to construct a new tin roofed house. I spent some of the money to buy foodstuffs and household items such as utensils and furniture. I also helped my relatives who needed cash. I am now old and what I need is just food to keep me going. I pray to my God for strength and spiritual guidance in my sunset days.

Mary standing inside her house

I would encourage everyone else who has the heart to give to do so. Just like I give my offering in church so should every child of God give to a worthy cause. I take this opportunity to wish our friends from overseas who have been so generous to us a Happy New Year and success in all their endeavors. I also want to pray for their families that God may grant them peace.