In mid-January, Nat and Michelle, owners of Physical Therapy of Melissa, joined their church on a mission trip to with the Zimbabwe Orphan Endeavor (ZOE) now working in Chennai, India. Their church sponsors a group of 73 impoverished orphaned children for enrollment with the three-year ZOE program. Nat and Michelle spent five days empowering the children and monitoring progress being made toward their goals in the ZOE program.
According to global research, 385 million children are living in extreme poverty throughout the world. The debilitating results are disease, hunger, exploitation, abuse, illiteracy, and hopelessness. However, ZOE’s approach has proven that children living in poverty also hold the greatest capacity to create lasting solutions for their families and communities.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
By investing in local, indigenous leaders in seven countries, ZOE’s distinctive, holistic model provides the vital relationships, training, and resources to empower young participants to overcome the isolation and stigmatization associated with extreme poverty. This three-year empowerment program leads to dignity, self-sustainability, and community transformation.
The cycle of poverty is stopped as partners work with a group of children eager to realize their God-given potential. Indigenous leaders and vulnerable children are empowered to develop sustainable solutions rather than being the recipients of handouts. Young people are developed into leaders and given access to the basic training and resources needed to grow their own food, start businesses, enroll siblings in school, attend vocational training, learn about God’s love for them, understand how to stay healthy and prevent disease, learn about child rights, and entire communities are transformed in the process.
“Physical Therapy of Melissa’s mission is to provide our community compassionate rehabilitation from our family to yours,” said Nat. “It’s very rewarding to demonstrate our mission statement globally to be able to make a difference in the lives of the children in Chennai.”
Nat and Michelle look forward to seeing the progress in the next three years as the children move from poverty to successful entrepreneurs in their community.