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Travel Policies

The purpose of a ZOE trip is to experience the work of empowering orphans spiritually, physically, socially, and economically in the countries where we serve. We consider travelers as ambassadors for ZOE from the time the first flight departs until the return home — and beyond. We ask all travelers to carefully consider all words and actions throughout a ZOE trip.

ZOE requires all travelers:

  • To abstain from using any alcohol or tobacco products while on the trip.
  • To avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics (US or international), sexuality, genocide, and other topics that may be emotive. Attempting to discuss such sensitive topics across cultures requires a much more in-depth understanding than we are able to acquire on such a short trip.
  • To follow the leadership of ZOE program staff and team leaders at all times.
  • To avoid bringing money, gifts, or ANY other items to give directly to children or other individuals you may encounter. We believe that doing so undermines the scope and purpose of ZOE’s empowerment program and will likely have unintended, sometimes dangerous, consequences for the children. The focus of a ZOE trip is to connect with the children, encourage them, and receive what they have to offer. The gifts we have to offer t to them are our presence, respect, and emotional support.

Communication and Gifts

Before, during, and after a trip, all correspondence, ideas, requests, or other suggestions must be routed through ZOE’s U.S. office. The intention of this policy is to protect the time of the in-country program staff members. As you will see on your trip, the ratio of in-country staff members to children is roughly one to one thousand. As a result, our desire is to everything we can to shield the in-country staff members from direct communication and requests from travelers who are visiting from the United States. In order to support ZOE’s empowerment model, we require that no cash or gifts are given and that ZOE supporters refrain from direct correspondence of any kind with in-country staff and the program participants (including mail, email, social media, video conferencing).

Photography

Taking photos of ZOE program participants and their projects are encouraged. However, photography in public places, such as markets, must be approved by an in-country program staff member. We ask that travelers avoid taking photos of airports, government buildings, local law enforcement officers, or military personnel. This policy applies to all ZOE trips to any of the countries we serve.

Proper Attire

Please dress modestly throughout your trip with ZOE. Skirts should cover the knees while sitting. Tops should not be low cut. Women can wear slacks and/or capri pants in most places. Your trip leader will inform you in advance if you will be traveling to an area If we are to travel in an area that would require skirts for women. As you prepare for visiting a local church for a Sunday worship service, women should plan to wear dress slacks, skirts, or dresses. Men should wear dress slacks, button down shirts, and ties. Out of respect for local customs and standards of modesty, men and women should refrain from wearing shorts anywhere except on the hotel property. The climate is temperate and so this should not be a burden.

Travelers Become Advocates

After you see the ZOE empowerment model in person and meet the children whose lives are being transformed, you will return home with incredible experiences and stories to share. Our desire is to ensure that you are equipped to do so as effectively as possible. The most impactful time to share about the work of ZOE is within the first few weeks after you return home — when the experiences and stories are fresh in your heart and mind. This is the perfect time to raise awareness and to help raise additional funds to expand the work of ZOE. We ask that you make yourself available to speak with churches, groups, and individuals about what you have seen, and help facilitate opportunities for others to get involved in the work of ZOE. Our staff members are available to assist you with presentation materials and are often able to help present ZOE’s model to individuals and groups within your network.

We ask that you make yourself available to share about the work of ZOE with your family members, friends, churches, neighbors, and any other individuals or groups with whom you have connections. Our staff members are available to assist you with presentation materials and we are more than willing to make ourselves available to help you tell the ZOE story.

 

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