Mighty Moses: Life After Zoe Empowers
Moses, Zoe Empowers Kenya Graduate, B.S. in Mathematics and Physics, Grade 1-4 Math Teacher
“ZOE taught me the value of education,” explains Moses. “Education is a light that allows us to see everything we want to see in this world. The training and ‘start-up kits’ our Group received is much of what I attribute my success to. The personal visits and generosity of Zoe Empowers donors inspires me to continue serving others in my community.”
“Google it” is phrase embedded in our Western culture. With a few search terms and a click, we can gain answers to an infinite amount of questions, whenever and wherever. Information is at our fingertips, and a result, we’re constantly self-educating and being entertained by scrolling, reading and watching content on the Internet.
Having the opportunity and capacity to learn at our leisure is a luxury and privilege we don’t think twice about, when in reality, hundreds of millions of children living in poverty around the world are either dreaming about being able to attend school or lack the understanding that a better life is possible through education.
The freedom education provides was an unfamiliar concept to 15-year old Moses. Living in a rural Kenya town with his two siblings (one older and one younger) and their widowed mother, the family struggled to obtain the most basic needs like food, clean water and a stable shelter.
Moses and his siblings did not attend school because paying school fees was out of reach, and being in a classroom meant the family couldn’t perform field labor to earn a meal. Feeling isolated and perpetually sad, Moses often kept to himself to avoid hearing hurtful remarks often shot at him by community members.
When Moses joined the Umoja Group under ZOE, he was introduced to peers in his community who were living in situations similar to his. Together, the group bonded over the hardship they had endured in their young lives and realized a brighter future was available to them without leaving their village or receiving charitable handouts. They began to understand the power to transform their own lives came from within.
The Umoja Group’s journey toward empowerment began with planting potatoes and later on, rearing egg laying chickens. Stabilizing food supply within Zoe Empowers groups is critical early on, so the children have energy to think and work while also gaining confidence in their evolving mindset.
Over the course of several months, Moses and his group members attended trainings, conducted by community leaders, Zoe Empowers mentors and staff, that focused on various aspects of life. Some trainings were specific to trades, like carpentry, while others were geared toward business and entrepreneurship. Every individual in the group was responsible for having an activity that generated income.
Having spent much of his life working in the field for community members, Moses chose farming as his business. With a $50 start-up grant awarded by his group (from Zoe Empowers provided funds), he was able to run a water connection that allowed him to slowly increase his production of sukuma wiki (leafy greens). Within three months, he was selling ten bags per week, yielding a profit of $237 per month—enough to invest in a diversified agriculture portfolio including onions, bananas and cattle.
Farming also enabled Moses to earn enough savings to attend a university where he finished with a degree in mathematics and physics. While away at school, his younger sister stepped into his spot in the Umoja Group to complete the program. Following in her brother’s footsteps, she went on to the university in Nairobi to complete her degree in accounting.
Today, as a Zoe Empowers and university graduate, Moses is a full-time elementary math teacher back in his Kenyan town. He continues to grow his farming operation to positively influence other local children. “I want my farm to inspire youth to venture into self-employment, particularly farming which is mainly done by the elders in my community,” said Moses. With the help of two full-time employees, Moses successfully farms onions, kale, grains, chickens and four dairy cows, and he has plans to scale up in the future.
With a deep understanding of the importance of education and a supportive peer group, Moses uses his farming income to pay the school fees of other community children, a pay-it-forward act becoming increasingly common among Zoe Empowers grads. In 2017, 80% of Zoe Empowers graduates surveyed in Kenya reported they assist other poor vulnerable people in their community without asking for payment.
“ZOE taught me the value of education,” explains Moses. “Education is a light that allows us to see everything we want to see in this world. The training and ‘start-up kits’ our group received is much of what I attribute my success to. The personal visits and generosity of Zoe Empowers donors inspires me to continue serving others in my community.”
Beyond satisfying his hunger, gaining entrepreneur skills and growing a business, obtaining a college degree and the countless other ways Zoe Empowers impacted Moses’ life, the most significant and lasting transformation is his psychological change; his innate understanding that he is fully capable of helping himself. Each day and every decision he made to become self-reliant has broadened his view of the world. Coincidentally, a view now inclusive of the world’s most powerful search engine: Google.
Google, the invaluable research tool our society uses daily, is one Moses has become aware of and gained access to in his small Kenyan town. Post-college and Zoe Empowers graduation, Moses “Googled” how to build a latrine, and then he built one in his community using the information found in his search; a resourceful act unthinkable before he was exposed to a steady, diversified stream of educational courses.
ZOE’s empowerment program radically changed Moses’ life; a change his entire community is benefiting from through his farm, employment opportunities and generosity. Your donation to Zoe Empowers today can bring more education, training and hope to thousands of other children who are still living the darkness of poverty, unaware of such opportunities.
380 million children living in extreme poverty will rely on charity forever.
$8 a month can change that.
A monthly gift of $8 over 3 years empowers one orphan out of poverty. How many children like Moses can you give lasting sustainable change?