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Justice is Served and Dignity is Reclaimed

Everyone and everything she had loved and depended on had disappeared from her life. First her parents, then the grandmother who cared for her. Relatives rejected her and took her land.

Just barely a teen, Pacifique thought she could find refuge living with her neighbors, but instead, her situation became worse. The husband abused her repeatedly. When she became pregnant, she was kicked out of the house. With no place to stay and unable to work, she survived by begging. When her baby was born, they slept on people’s porches at night and struggled to find food during the day.  She felt totally alone, abandoned even by God.

Malnourished and eating only four meals per week, Pacifique and her daughter Gisele came to the first Zoe Empowers meeting in her Rwanda village hoping for food. They were disappointed until they discovered that Zoe Empowers was offering much, much more.

During the first weeks, the youth of her working group shared their stories of despair, their struggles, and finally their dreams. They became a new family for Pacifique where she found understanding and compassion. The Zoe Empowers program facilitators trained Pacifique and her groupmates on topics that were relevant to all aspects of their lives from growing food to starting a business to staying healthy. After ZOE’s training on identifying and defending personal rights, Pacifique’s working group helped her press charges against her former abuser. He was tried, found guilty, and is now serving twenty years in prison.

With knowledge, resources, and the support of Zoe Empowers and her working group, Pacifique left her previous existence behind and began building a new life. She planted a small garden, started a business selling bananas, found a home to rent, and sent Gisele to school.

Her dream is to own a house, and Zoe Empowers is helping make that dream come true. Working with the local government which provides land and some building materials, Zoe Empowers and her working group will construct a home for Pacifique and Gisele where they will be safe and comfortable.

Through ZOE’s empowerment model, Pacifique not only developed the skills and ability to take care of herself and her daughter, she also reclaimed her dignity. No longer a victim, she attends church with joy and looks for opportunities to empower others in her community.


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