OUR HISTORY

HISTORY/BACKGROUND

Empowering the Poor (ETP) is the brainchild of Darius Coulibaly. Darius was born and raised in a poor and rural environment in northern and southern Côte d’Ivoire, where he witnessed poverty firsthand. Darius grew up without electricity, clean and running water, indoor plumbing, and health centers; like millions of young boys and girls in impoverished and rural Africa, Darius walked long distances to fetch water and wood, to farm, and to go to school.  He witnessed firsthand children dying in their mother’s arms, pregnant women dying while delivering a baby, people were dying and continue to die from preventable and curable diseases like yellow fever, malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, etc. People die in Africa, Haiti, and in communities living in extreme poverty because of the lack of equipped health centers, access to medicines, a complete breakdown of health infrastructure, poor managerial and leadership skills, and the lack of political will to address the health crisis.

It is by the grace of GOD that Darius survived several episodes of malaria, infectious diseases, and two near-death experiences. Darius grew frustrated and puzzled by the excruciating psychological, physical, and economic pain inflicted by poverty on poor communities in his country and across Africa. Darius knows firsthand that providing handouts will not provide sustainable solutions to poverty, as nearly $650 billion in foreign aid (in 2004 prices) given to the sub Saharan Africa region by the West and the former colonial powers (Western Europe), has vanished in a sinkhole of theft, waste, and kept Africa’s marionettes in power to serve the economic interests of the same colonial powers (European countries). Go figure!

Despite the billions of dollars in foreign aid, a child dies in Africa every 30 seconds from malaria, each day 9,000 Africans are infected with HIV and AIDS, three-fourth of all maternal deaths occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, (WHO, 2011), and the poverty-stricken data list continues…

Darius’s passion for poverty alleviation grew taller and wider than his seven feet tall body frame. Guided by his faith in Jesus Christ, and inspired by his exceptionally altruistic mother, who nurtured his call to serve the poor, Darius founded Empowering The Poor, Inc. in 2006, which was awarded the 501(c) (3) status by the United States Internal Revenue Service on June 14, 2007.

The mission of Empowering The Poor is To empower economically disadvantaged families and communities to self-reliance through innovative and sustainable self-help initiatives in education, health, and microfinance.

Working directly with our targeted families and communities, Empowering The Poor seeks to teach the poor how to fish for the rest of their lives versus feeding them for one day.  
                                                                                                                                                         Empowering the Poor is run by a group of dedicated Board of Directors and staffed with volunteers in Fredericksburg, Virginia and in Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa.

PREVIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Distributed four large suitcases of medical supplies to the Jean Marie Opal Clinic in Leogane, Haiti, and first aid kits to the survivors of earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 10-21, 2010.
  • Provided literacy classes to 289 women and children in Houssabougou, Korhogo, Ivory Coast since October 2009 to present.
  • A week-long HIV Awareness Campaign in the villages of Poungbe, Tonhon, Drissafogo, Sekonkaha, Dogolefolo, Cote’ d’Ivoire, West Africa, 2008. The campaign was sponsored by RandGold Resources, a gold mining and exploration company operating in the village of Tonhon, Ivory Coast.
  • Built 2 classrooms(1st and 2nd grade), village of Tonhon, Ivory Coast West Africa, 2006-2007
  • Trained 20 women as community health agents in the village of Tonhon, Ivory Coast, 2007. Distributed 350 bed nets in the village of Tonhon, Ivory Coast, 2006.
  • Distributed 250 long lasting insecticides-treated bed nets in the village of Princes Town, Ghana in 2007

CURRENT PROGRAMS & UPCOMING PROJECTS

I AM A 21st CENTURY LEADER PROGRAM,                                                                   Fredericksburg, Virginia, United States

Mission: Our mission defines who we are and sets the standard by which we exist.                                                    

  • To enfance the academic achievement of students, 1st – 12th, through personalized academic coaching to remediate academic gaps, strengthen student’s understanding of grade level concepts, and student’s performance on assignments, quizzes, and tests.
  • To equip our students with the test preparation required to pass the SOL, AP Exams, PSAT, SAT, ACT, ASVAB, GED, and attend the college and university of their dreams.
  • To provide therapeutic mentoring and counseling to modify student’s behaviors in school and in the community.
  • To prepare high school students to lead today’s 21st global village by learning, thinking, and taking actions to address local and global issues (human trafficking, poverty, environment, etc).

UPCOMING PROJECT-HAOUSSABOUGOU LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER                                                                                                                       korhogo, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa

Mission: to build, equip, and operate Haoussabougou Resource Learning Center in Korhogo, Cote d’Ivoire, to provide educational resources to age-school children, health literacy to adults, and to eradicate book and computer scarcity and literacy desert in the town of Korhogo and surrounding villages.

The Haoussabougou Resource Learning Center will include:

  • 4 equipped classrooms: white and blackboards, single student desks (20 per class), and one computer.
  • A special education department: diagnose and educate students with disabilities. Special education does not exist in Cote d’Ivoire and in most African countries. Students with disabilities are simply not educated. There are marginalized in most African societies.
  • An equipped library: There is a literacy desert across Africa, which perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty. There are no public libraries in Korhogo, Cote d’Ivoire. There is one (1) library in the entire country, which is located in the capital city, Abidjan.
  • A small computer center
  • Three small meeting rooms, 3 small offices, one small cafeteria
  • 6 restrooms (3 for women and 3 for men)

Project Outline:                                                                                                                           Fundraising starts December 1st, 2015. Project details will be available on November 15th, 2015.