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In 2009, the ZOE ministry will celebrate five years of fostering partnerships between families in the U. S. and households headed by AIDS orphans in Africa. ZOE’s “Giving Hope” initiative provides cooperative opportunities for children to grow rice and coffee to support their families for years to come. Kim Riemland reports. 

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Huye, Rwanda)

In Rwanda, five and a half acres of land are being cleared by hand. It’s hard work, all done by children…young entrepreneurs.

Across Africa, millions of AIDS orphans are caring for younger siblings. Child-headed families can face starvation.

Fortunately, the United Methodist ZOE Ministry is helping youngsters build a future for themselves through sustainable projects like this coffee co-op.

Herman, Government Official: “Beginning with the most vulnerable families, child-headed households…they hope that they will overcome poverty within two to three years.”

Here, 87 families have planted 1,500 coffee trees.

In three years, the first crop will yield 18 tons of coffee worth 10,000 U.S. dollars a year.

Partner families will have money to go to school and buy goats, but they will also reinvest to help other orphan families with similar start-ups.

(Voice of ZOE founder, the Rev. Greg Jenks, translating) “What we were just told is that on this coffee plantation, they plan to use 50 percent of the proceeds to divide among the families and 50 percent to give to support other orphans in their community.”

When they are not working in the fields, orphans lead AIDS prevention efforts.

Epiphanie Mujawimana, Director, ZOE Giving Hope Project: “Being orphans, especially those being orphaned by HIV and AIDS, have been stigmatized. Nobody from their community will come visit them to see them. But when they started the anti-AIDS club, now they are valued in their community.”

ZOE has helped these children come a long way and inspire others with their stories.

TAG:

ZOE, the Greek word for “life,” initially stood for Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor, the country where ZOE’s work began. The program has now expanded to help children in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, and Rwanda.

To date, ZOE’s “Giving Hope” project has provided opportunities for 1,350 orphan-headed families. That’s a total of 4,400 children.

For more information on the ZOE Ministry or the Giving Hope project, visit the Web site or call 1-800-951-0234.

Posted: Nov. 19, 2008