Focus On: Working Group Formation
Poverty often means a life lived in isolation, unconnected even from those who share the same struggles and challenges. A Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor (ZOE) working group provides orphans and vulnerable children a community where they experience understanding, compassion and acceptance. Together, they begin their journey towards a better life.
To form a working group, ZOE social workers first contact community leaders and local officials to educate them about the empowerment approach and to ask for their help in identifying children. During the first meeting, the children and their young caregivers learn how they will change and improve their lives within three years. Then ZOE takes a step back.
Working group members elect their own leadership, make rules to guide their meetings, choose a group name and decide where to hold weekly gatherings. These once-marginalized children learn from ZOE staff that their community and their Hope Companion partner have faith in their ability to succeed.
The eldest child from each family attends weekly meetings to discuss their activities, both achievements and challenges, and to share in prayer and reflection with each other. Additionally, ZOE’s staff and selected community members host regional training sessions covering food security, health and disease prevention, business management and child rights.
One of the first actions the group takes is to select a project, such as a group farm, which they undertake together to quickly secure food and generate income. Because of your support, ZOE is then able to provide the basic training and resources they need to begin.
Icyuzuzo Mutete Working Group, Rwanda
Partnered with the Louisburg Group, 2014-2016
Below is the list of names recorded by our ZOE social worker during group formation; there are 34 households and a total of 115 members. The names in bold are heads of household, followed by their siblings and dependents. ZOE works with orphaned and vulnerable children ages infant through college age. Although ZOE obtains name lists with both first and last names, ZOE uses first names only in public lists to preserve the privacy of children in the program. (Usually we list the baptismal name which is English or French, in some cases only the Kinyarwanda name was available.)
Many of the children currently in Rwanda’s program have no parents but are living with an elderly grandparent or caregiver who may be disabled (names in italics). It is often the case that such arrangements include shelter only and the caregiver is unable to provide food, education, health care or other support which children need. Child rights is especially important in such situations so that the children are not abused.
Because they are living in extreme poverty situations, children joining the ZOE program often lack birth documentation and have suffered multiple traumas in their young lives. Occasionally the children give conflicting information on their names and ages. Additional orphans are frequently adopted by the group, and a small percentage of children will leave the group due to family reunification or other reasons. ZOE strives to keep the list as up-to-date as possible. All the names on this list represent real children in need of your prayers.
We encourage everyone to pray for the children in our working group each day. We also encourage you to take the time to read out their names in prayer as you are able. Stay tuned for additional information on our working group and how you can partner
For More Information Visit: http://www.zoehelps.org
See how orphans lives are transformed: http://www.zoehelps.org/resources/mission-moments/
Soapstone UMC’s visit to their working group in Kenya: