Jean Paul was 14 when he joined his empowerment group in Rwanda. At that time he was all alone, and did not have an identification card which he has missed since birth – he could never own property without it. He had no family that he was aware of at that time, as his mother was rumored to have been a prostitute and abandoned him as a child. The officials told the Zoe Empowers social worker that he was of no value – why were they even trying to get him his id card? Because he wanted to belong and he wanted to own a home and business someday. He recently got his ID card!
Jean Paul has had several successful businesses. He has made and sold banana juice and samosas. Aline, his Zoe Empowers social worker, worked hard to find his rumored brother and they have been united (brother is 12) – the villagers told her about him. She thinks that she knows his mother – but he will need to decide if he wants to meet her – given his new independence and success. He has a house under construction – it was built from Zoe Empowers funds, but the whole community is coming together to build it and his empowerment group helps with volunteer labor. We were able to walk through it and have a blessing. He has been made whole by family and community and his brother. He is a new man.