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“The happiest day of my life was meeting the ZOE staff and my group because that is the day I began to become human again.” – Consolee, ZOE Rwanda
You will find Consolee and her empowerment group in rural Rwanda once a month working the soil at their vast banana farm. The formal training from ZOE is now a thing of their past for the Igihozo Empowerment Group since graduating in 2015. What remains strong is their bond as a family along with the massive banana farm they have cultivated together as a group. The farm is so massive in fact that a private company built a banana manufacturing factory directly across the road.
It seems like a lifetime ago that Consolee and her three younger siblings were living on the streets begging for food not far from where they now harvest bananas yielding them about $800 USD each year as a family. Although they are now empowered leaders who are respected in their community, they will never forget where they once were. The memories of exploitation and abuse from their desperate need for a single meal will be etched in their memory forever.
Today Consolee’s dreams have become a bigger reality than she even dared to hope for. Consolee is the proud owner of a large restaurant and coffee shop in the busiest area among her urban community. Her prime location earns her a monthly profit of about $250 USD. She is also a newlywed and beams with pride for her siblings.
The success of ZOE graduates long after they complete their three-year program prove the lasting results that empowerment brings.