In 2004 ZOE launched as a Christian response to the humanitarian crisis of orphans left in the wake of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. The beginning of this ministry was inspired by a 15 year old young woman who felt called by God to care for AIDS orphans in Africa. She then shared her experiences with her church and whomever else would listen, inspiring others and leading to the establishment of ZOE.
At first ZOE was a relief mission including feeding programs, medical mission teams and funding for orphans to attend and receive food at local schools. This ministry started in Zimbabwe, and originally the name ZOE was an acronym for Zimbabwe Orphan Endeavor. ZOE means life in Greek. ZOE later expanded its relief work to include Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Liberia, Rwanda and India.
ZOE “helps children help themselves,” but we also inspire the children to help others. The Zimbabwe ZOE program is especially active with outreach projects. Nearly every working group in Zimbabwe is involved in some kind of community service project. They clean up church and school grounds. They repair community facilities like cattle dip tanks, local roads that have become washed out from rains, and village water pumps. In the photo above, the Kubatana Rowa Working Group repairs a broken community water pump.
In 2018, St. John’s pledged a 3 year commitment to support 100 orphans in Zimbabwe and partake in mission trip abroad.