ZOE’s social workers ensure children know about their rights, are free from abuse and exploitation, and can find a safe place to live. Children learn skills such as farming and animal husbandry at monthly meetings. Then, ZOE provides them tools, seeds and farm animals so they can grow and raise their own food. When children need a home, ZOE provides the necessary materials and their peer working group assists in construction.
ZOE’s social workers teach children about ways to stay healthy, including boiling water before drinking, washing hands and dishes, and proper nutrition for a balanced diet. ZOE provides children with mosquito nets and blankets to keep them safe from insect-borne diseases. Children learn about the causes and prevention of HIV/AIDS, and how to care for those who are infected. Orphans often form anti-AIDS clubs and perform at local events to help educate their communities.
When children first join the empowerment program, ZOE brings them together into a Working Group of 50-100 fellow orphans from their community. This group becomes a new family, able to support one another in many ways. ZOE connects children to their community leaders, and helps them connect to God through their local church. ZOE’s social workers help children reunite with their relatives and siblings who have had to leave home.
When children graduate after three years in ZOE’s program, they are prepared to care for themselves and their younger siblings. They have secure, dependable sources of food and income. Through ZOE, children have access to micro-grants, vocational training, and business start-up materials. Working Groups will frequently reach out to assist other orphans in their villages. These children are prepared to become leaders in their church and community.