Project #226 Equipping Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Malawi | Year 1

Our partnership with Zoe Empowers

Many believe the greatest humanitarian crisis of our age is the two hundred million orphans living and dying in extreme poverty in the poorest countries. Malawi is one of the most economically challenged countries with 50.7% of the population living below the poverty line and 25% living in extreme poverty. Zoe Empowers has operated in Malawi’s rural Doya District since 2013 where the poverty numbers are even more disproportionate, increasing to 57% of the population and 28% in extreme poverty. Large-scale flooding in 2015 followed by a major drought in 2016 has compounded issues of food insecurity. Approximately 37% of children under age five experience growth stunting due to malnutrition. High poverty rates have resulted in Malawi having the 12th highest rate of child marriage with 9% married by age 15 and 42% married by age 18. Rural areas lack healthcare facilities and high transportation costs make access difficult. In addition, over one-third of the healthcare positions are vacant country-wide due to a shortage of workers. Malawi children continue to face prevalent issues of malnutrition, lack of family planning services, and high rates of HIV and malaria. Children are trapped in a cycle of poverty and are unable to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, education, health, income generation, and safety. Zoe Empowers is reducing the number of orphans and vulnerable children living in poverty by meeting the needs in all areas of their lives enabling them to become self-sufficient.

One Day’s Wages partnered with Zoe Empowers to support approximately 600 Malawian orphans and vulnerable children in six empowerment groups 20-35 heads of household (age 12-20) and their younger siblings. Zoe Empowers is a three-year comprehensive, youth-led program that empowers vulnerable children to pull themselves permanently out of extreme poverty with a 95% rate of success. Building on a foundation of indigenous staff, community leaders, and local resources, Zoe Empowers supports orphans and vulnerable children to become entrepreneurs who are socially, economically, and spiritually strong- transforming entire communities in the process. Zoe Empowers stands behind these youth providing simultaneous, comprehensive training and resources addressing 8 key areas to ensure self-sufficiency. By the end of year one, each child-headed household will: have at least 1 individual and 1 group business, a steady source of food through income, agricultural and livestock projects, safe secure housing, improved hygiene, disease-preventing knowledge, and access to healthcare systems, understand their rights as children and how to enforce them, be re-enrolled in formal education or vocational training; have hope and a plan for their lives; know they can be loved, and have formed strong and enduring bonds with a supportive group of peers.  This occurs while living in their own village.  At the end of the three years, the children will graduate owning multiple businesses with diverse revenue streams for their families. They should never need charity again and will have created systemic changes for their siblings, families, communities, and country. This project covers year one of a three year project.


Our Collective Impact

Total People With Increased Food Security

Total People Received Entrepreneurial Training

Total People With Increased Hygiene and Health

Meet Lute

Lute’s father died in 2016 from tuberculosis creating an economic crisis for the family of three children.  They sought support from relatives and well-wishers, but it was not enough to meet their needs and they experienced many days of hunger. To make matters worse, their home was destroyed by heavy winds forcing the family to move into their grandmother’s grass thatched house.  It was during this time that Lute became pregnant as she tried to support her family. 

Fortunately, Lute was recruited into the Zoe Empowers program their lives began to improve.  Lute attended vocational training and then received a sewing machine and materials so that she could pursue her dream of opening a tailoring business.  With her earnings she purchased iron roofing sheets for the house and latrine.  Her long-term plan  is to buy land and build a spacious house.  To achieve her goal more quickly she has started raising livestock and vegetable farming.  

With her current earnings she can provided three nutritious meals a day, pay for medical services as needed, and has purchased fertilizer to maximize her maize crop yield. Lute plans to re-enroll her brother Zacharia in secondary school. They had dropped out of school at the same time, but she now feels capable of covering all school expenses.


Thank you for making this possible!

Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.

If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our emergency relief fund.

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One Day's Wages is a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty

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