Bester’s Story

THE GIFT OF A VOICE

Employed by a local farmer at age 11, Bester was treated no different from his adult colleagues. “The farmer worked the kids the same as adults,” explained Bester, a 2019 Malawi program graduate and carpenter. “If you couldn’t keep up, you wouldn’t get a meal or you could be fired.”

It wasn’t until Bester received child rights training in his Zoe Empowers group did he realize the farmer was breaking the law by forcing child laborers to work long hours, withhold food or pay, and/or terminate the child employee if he or she couldn’t hold pace with the adults workers.

Once Bester understood his rights, he felt confident about speaking out about the farmer’s wrongdoings to Zoe Empowers staff and local government officials. As a result, the government stepped in to permanently remove all child workers from the farm. 

Today, Bester lives a much happier, joyful life. The carpentry business he started during the Zoe Empowers program has led to great financial success. Bester proudly employs many of his former peers from the farm and provides them with a fair wage and three meals a day. 

Although Bester’s business is located within a half-mile of the farm, he doesn’t harbor anger toward it. Instead, he views it as a blessing because he is able to reap the benefits of significant traffic passing by his workshop, while being constantly reminded of just how far he has come as an independent young man, thanks to Zoe Empowers and his bravery to speak out on child rights. 

 

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380 million children living in extreme poverty will rely on charity forever. A monthly gift of $8 over 3 years empowers one orphan out of poverty. How many children like Bester can you give lasting sustainable change?