150+ million children worldwide are orphaned or acting as caregivers for compromised adults.

For orphaned youth, life revolves around survival. They quit school to find work. When $1/day doesn’t feed their family, they beg, steal, or starve. Exploited, abused and sick, they suffer in the shadows. Eventually, they lose hope, battling a cycle that is unfixable by relief-based aid or foster care systems that lack resources.

We provide an opportunity for orphaned youth to become self-sufficient.

Through a three-year, locally-led program, orphaned youth are organized into groups of 60-100 children and receive micro grants, life skills, and vocational training to become secure, healthy, and connected community members.

Children become safe and healthy.

Health and safety is a primary focus that includes food security, house, health & hygiene, and child rights initiatives.

Children are skilled for long-term success.

Sustainable, generational change is emphasized through education, vocational training, business development, and financial fluency.

Children are wrapped in layers of community.

Social and spiritual concerns are addressed through community reintegration, family reunification when appropriate, and spiritual strengthening .

Welshman became safe and healthy.

Welshman once relied on outside aid programs to feed his family. After Zoe equipped him with skills to open a bakery, he stopped depending on charity—for good.

Secure food & housing

Youth are immediately taught about nutrition, safe food storage, agriculture, and animal husbandry. Within twelve months, they’re growing and buying food, plus selling or sharing surplus. Participants living on the street or in dilapidated homes receive assistance in acquiring secure housing with business profits and/or small grants to repair, rent, or purchase land and building materials.

Edward learned how to grow, cook, and store food. He received support in making necessary housing improvements.

Gentil learned hygiene practices that increased his overall health and confidence. Access to health care saved his ill infant sister’s life.

Hygiene & Healthcare

Youth learn hygiene and disease prevention, such as hand washing, mosquito net installation, and latrine construction. Many children enter the program suffering from illnesses, so Zoe staff facilitate access to medical care.

Child rights

Youth are trained about human rights and gender equality. Up until this point, many participants are unaware they have rights and lack the resources to enforce them. With support from Zoe Empowers and their peers, they become advocates for themselves, and in some cases, receive assistance to seek justice. 

Risper educates others in her community about women’s rights, after surviving abuse as a teenager.

Priya became skilled for long-term success.

Priya dropped out of school after her father died. With Zoe, she started a dress shop to finance her education and became an award winning designer.

Suki graduated from secondary school and college. She started two businesses and was hired as an  intern for Zoe’s Malawi program.

Access to Education

Youth are forced to drop out of school to find work when they become orphaned. In year one, Zoe Empowers assists them to re-enroll in school. By year three, many of the program participants already have sufficient funds from their business profits to pay for their own, and their sibling’s, school fees and supplies. Some even go on to attend college and beyond.

Business Skills & Financial Fluency

Youth receive a small grant at the beginning of the program in conjunction with business training. Children develop a business plan and are provided guidance in executing their vision. Subsequent lessons are given on accounting, investing, and how to leverage their funds for long-term success.

Faith expanded and diversified her business with training from Zoe. She was able to save and invest in her future, despite the pandemic.

Chance and Samuel opened a training center to teach woodworking and basket weaving to orphaned children in their community.

Vocational Training

Youth are encouraged to pursue individualized training in their vocation of choice using resources from their group. Zoe graduates often become mentors in their community and/or employ other vulnerable youth, amplifying the ripple effect of empowerment.

Sharleen became connected to her community.

Sharleen suffered abuse and neglect even before she became pregnant at age 15. Through Zoe, she found meaningful connections and discovered her strength and resiliency as a young mother.

Community Reintegration

Youth experience a sense of comfort and belonging in their Zoe Empowers peer group, and their customers bear witness their talents and transformation. As their businesses succeed, the children grow increasingly independent and confident. They move from beggars to employers and feel valued in their community.

Diffati lived in isolation as an orphan. Through Zoe, he established connections and became a respected employer in his community.

Clarisse reunited with her older brothers with help from Zoe. Today, her family lives and works together, which she considers her greatest blessing.

Reunification with Agency

Youth often reunite with siblings and adult relatives with the agency of income and knowledge of how to enforce their human rights to avoid possible future abuse.

Spiritual Strength

While Zoe Empowers is a religiously non-restrictive program, children experience the gospel in both action and words in ways that are always inviting but never coercive. The majority of participants find joy and meaning in collective prayer and feel confident attending worship.

Emmanuel’s faith in his future deepened while a part of the program. His new mindset helped him endure and overcome many challenges.

We believe that orphaned youth, when empowered by a supportive community, can lead their own journey from extreme poverty to self-sufficiency, eliminating the need for endless aid.

See it for yourself.

Travel with us to witness the empowerment model in action and how Zoe Empowers is changing lives socially, economically, and spiritually.

Start your partnership.

Invest in the most powerful and economical solution to extreme poverty.