ZOE Children Donate $7,100: Margaret’s Story
“I am happy to give part of what God has blessed me with through ZOE. I am now empowered to help others in my community and beyond. I have learned that it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
As you may have heard, young entrepreneurs in the ZOE program in Kenya are determined to pay it forward and empower other orphans and vulnerable children through ZOE. These young people were living in desperate conditions themselves not too long ago, and now they have become financial partners!
Earlier this month, 510 program participants gathered together for a ‘Thanksgiving’ celebration which culminated in a $7,100 offering to help start more ZOE groups of children. This event was initiated and planned by ZOE children and the donated money came from the profits of businesses they had started. This event was initiated and planned by ZOE children with the intention of giving back to help other children. If you missed the entire story, read it here.
I would like to introduce you to one of ZOE’s newest financial partners, Margaret. Margaret is a 21-year-old member of a third-year group in the Kenya program who donated to ZOE during the Thanksgiving celebration. I met Margaret in 2016, and she quickly impressed me with her joyful personality. She owned a hair salon at the time, and since then has opened a clothing boutique. Both businesses have grown since my visit.
What impressed me most about Margaret was her inner strength as a young woman. Her face lit up the room as she spoke with immense confidence. She shared that her parents died when she was only nine years old and she suddenly became the mother to her two younger siblings. She said, “I was always praying for someone to come and hold my hand.” I couldn’t help but think of my nine-year-old daughter. I tried to envision her living alone on the streets and being responsible for caring for two other human beings. It was too painful of a picture to hold onto for more than a few seconds in my mind.
Margaret proudly noted that ZOE was instrumental to transforming her health and giving her confidence. Through ZOE’s program, she learned about her rights as a young woman and how to enforce them – this seemed to be especially important to her. I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to protect herself and her siblings while living on the street. Today, Margaret feels strong and she is respected in her community. She holds her head high and is so proud of her accomplishments.
During my conversation with her, she joked about how the boys in her community respect her so much that they sometimes refuse to approach her because they feel intimidated by her confidence. I asked her a question that I often ask my adult daughters, “What qualities will you look for in a husband?” It became obvious to me that the ZOE program had helped to change Margaret’s answer to this question. She replied by saying that she dreams of marrying a man who is business minded and willing to work hard for what he earns. She said that he must also be understanding and respectful.
It always causes me to pause when I hear the ZOE children talk about their dreams before they become part of the program. Margaret dreamed for someone to come alongside her and hold her hand through life. Simply her dream was to feel cared for and loved.
The seed of Margaret’s dream was planted in a prayer. A faithful ZOE partner then watered it. It grew through her hard work and faithfulness. Margaret’s dreams have grown into many healthy relationships and multiple businesses. She now feels so empowered that she can’t possibly keep it to herself. Margaret’s financial contribution is an act of worship, helping other children find the path to their dreams.
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Margaret in 2016 when she first started her business