History

ZOE (a Greek word meaning “life”) was founded in the United States as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization in 2002 by Michael and Carol Hart. The Harts founded ZOE International in response to their commitment to share the Gospel with those who had not heard and their passion to rescue orphans and other vulnerable children from human trafficking. The Harts sold their custom home and most of their possessions; set up headquarters in Santa Clarita, California; and moved to Thailand where the problem of human trafficking was steadily growing. 

In 2003, ZOE International Foundation began in Thailand with 47 at-risk children and has since been granted legal status by the government of Thailand, enabling the foundation to own and operate ZOE Children’s Homes. ZOE Foundation Australia was established as a not-for-profit in 2011. In 2017, ZOE was granted not-for-profit status by both the government of Mexico and Japan.

ZOE is active in the fight against human trafficking working with both national and local governments, partnering with international and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and assisting law enforcement in each of the countries where ZOE operates.

In 2010, ZOE built a 40,000 square foot facility in Thailand, increasing its capacity to accommodate up to 250 children; built and opened a 60-bed, 8,060 square foot boys’ shelter in 2013; and completed work on its new $1.2 million Child Rescue Center in 2017.  

ZOE also operates a 2-year, live-in leadership school for young adults with a focus on developing indigenous leaders, child advocates and evangelists. Students are trained in leadership, bible-based instruction, vocational skills, language classes, and business skills.

ZOE has partnered with the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons through a 3-year, $500,000 grant for ZOE’s Enhanced Victim Protection Services program that has enabled ZOE to develop and implement a robust vocational program that prepares children for success in their areas of career interest and which has been cited by State Department inspectors as among the best they have seen. In addition, grant funds have been used to provide expert training for childcare providers at ZOE as well as 60 other agencies in a variety of subject areas.   

In Thailand ZOE has an active self-sustainability program on our 35-acre campus including organic crop production, organic animal husbandry, a fish farm, and water conservation.

ZOE’s campus in Thailand has over 120,000 square feet of buildings, a state of the art rescue center. ZOE is building a campus in the USA, and continues to expand operations in Australia, Japan, and Mexico. 

ZOE has rescued and restored the lives of hundreds of children and led thousands of people to Christ.

2019

Race Across America

On June 15, 2019, eight ZOE team riders set out on a non-stop, 3,000-mile transcontinental relay race from the Pacific to the Atlantic.  They finished this grueling ride in 3rd place and brought awareness and funds to ZOE.

2019
Making Room for our Home

Making Room for our Home

The beginning of the year began with us tearing down the existing structures on the property – making room for us to build our ZOE Home for Youth!

2018

2018 End of Year Recap

So much was accomplished this year!

2018

ZOE Rescue Walk – Unstoppable Hope

Our 6th Rescue walk that focused on our global expansion.

2018

Road of Justice

Road of Justice is ZOE’s first cycling challenge across America (3,700 miles and 64 days) to help spread awareness of child trafficking and raise funds for ZOE’s work.

2018
Barista Training

Barista Training

Barista training is added to our vocational training courses options. The great thing is they all can take place on the ZOE campus in Thailand.

2017

ZOE Japan Expands

After 15 years of evangelism in Japan, we are now expanding our efforts to combat human trafficking

2017

ZOE Mexico

ZOE obtained legal status as a non-profit organization in Mexico

2016

Award Received

Received award from Thai Government for ZOE’s Restoration Children’s Home

2016

9th Graduation & 5th Rescue Walk

9th graduation of our Leadership Training Schools and our 5th annual ZOE Rescue Walk – “My Fight”

2016

50 Acres Purchased

Purchased 50 acres of land for ZOE Children’s Home Los Angeles

2015

Accreditation

Accreditation from the Department of Social Development and Human Security in Thailand

2015

Transitional Home Program

Opened our Transitional Home Program for youth 18 years and older

2014

$500,000 Grant

$500,000 grant from U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking State Department

2014

7th Graduation & 3rd Rescue Walk

7th graduation of our Leadership Training Schools and our 3rd Annual ZOE Rescue Walk – “Do One Thing”

2013

ZOE Signs Memorandum

ZOE signs memorandum of understanding with the Thai Department of Social Welfare for Chiang Mai Province for the Prevention, Protection, and Solution to human trafficking

2013

ZOE Buys More Land

ZOE buys another 21 acres of land for agriculture and vocational training

2013

25 Thai government leaders Visit ZOE

25 Thai government leaders including directors from all 9 of Thailand’s regional Child Protection Centers visit ZOE

2013

Pig Farm Grows

Pig farm grows up to 70+ pigs as ZOE consumes two pigs per week

2013

Important Visits at ZOE

Members of the US President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Human Trafficking visits ZOE

2013

ZOE sits on TIP Forum

ZOE is invited to sit on the Trafficking in Persons Forum at the US Consulate

2013

Chair of Thai visits ZOE

Chair of Thai National Subcommittee on Combatting Human Trafficking in Children and Women visits ZOE

2012

US State Department Visits

US State Department Trafficking in Person liaison for Thailand visits ZOE

2012

10 Acres Purchased

10 acres of land purchased for the future ZOE Child Rescue Center thanks to an Australian donor

2012

ZOE builds pig farm

ZOE builds pig farm to help sustain 450+ meals a day

2012

1st ZOE Rescue Walk

First Annual ZOE Rescue Walk in US – over 500 participants

2012

Thailand’s Multi-Disciplinary Task Force

ZOE’s 4th year as an active member of Thailand’s Multi-Disciplinary Task Force – Many children rescued and reunited with families

2011

Self-Sustainability

ZOE expands organic vegetable garden, plants fruit trees, and a corn field; all furthering self-sustainability

2011

ZOE Influence

ZOE having influence in USA, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Australia

2010

ZOE Certified as NGO

Thai government certifies ZOE as NGO for the prevention and suppression of human trafficking

2009

Construction Begins

Construction begins on 40,000 sq ft. aftercare facility

2009

ZOE Parternerships

ZOE begins partnership with Children’s Hunger Fund and Mercy Network in Thailand

2008

ZOE Starts Building

ZOE purchases 20 acres of land for building phase 1 and hires new architect to design new ZOE Children’s Homes buildings

2008

ZOE Rents & Refurbishes

ZOE rents and refurbishes 10,000 sq ft. warehouse for worship room, boys’ bedrooms, classrooms and storage

2007

First Land Funds

Life Outreach International commits to fund our first land purchase and building project

2006

ZOE Builds Important Relationships

ZOE begins building relationships with US federal law enforcement agencies

2006

ZOE Ministry School

ZOE Ministry School launches with 14 students

2004

ZOE Banquet

ZOE Banquet, with over 800 in attendance, hosts guest talent: Steven Curtis Chapman, Jonathan Butler, Jonny Lang with

2004

ZOE Moves into New Home & Buys Truck

Move into 17,000 sq ft. home in Sarapee, a suburb of Chiang Mai and money donated to buy “BIG BLUE” truck to transport 30 kids to and from school

2003

ZOE Meets with US Ambassador

Meeting with US Ambassador to Thailand and with the head of Thailand’s committee to combat human trafficking

2003

ZOE Visits Washington D.C.

ZOE’s first visit to Washington, D.C. to meet with the US Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

2003

ZOE Hires Staff

ZOE begins with 6 Thai staff, 5 volunteers, and first USA employee hired

2003

ZOE’s First Home

ZOE begins reaching people and rescuing children. Our first home in Thailand was launched with 1 Girls Home and 1 Boys Home totaling 47 children.

2002

ZOE’s beginning

ZOE becomes a 501 (c) (3) non-profit in the United States

SEE OUR VISUAL TIMELINE BELOW