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ZOTO Youth Leader presents her story in Hong Kong

Posted 27 September 2018 in EMpower News, Grantee Partner News   |   Share


Donors and Board Directors in Hong Kong gathered on September 26th for a Breakfast with EMpower, featuring Lydia Solsoloy Ela, a youth leader from grantee partner ZOTO.

Lydia, 19 years old and a first-year college student from the Philippines, shared about her experience participating in leadership training with ZOTO, her learnings, and how she has used the skills she developed to reach out to her community.

Urban poor youth in Manila face many challenges including eviction and displacement, high rates of school drop-out, unemployment and a lack of resources to ensure access to basic rights. EMpower grantee partner ZOTO works with at-risk young people in Metro Manila to provide education and support for a healthy, productive future. Their programs support youth to re-enter school or provide accessible livelihoods options through vocational, job skills and entrepreneurship training.

Attendees were inspired by Lydia’s story, who shared what ZOTO and its trainings have meant to her in her life. “ZOTO means Family for me, an organization for urban poor people. The family is not only because of blood. Families are there for you especially when you need them, they’re there to guide you, teach you right, and support and love you… If there’s a problem we solve it together. I stay because I want to serve my community and to help young people like me, I want to share the lessons I’ve learned from ZOTO and EMpower.”

Speaking about how she is determined to empower others as ZOTO empowered her, she stated:

“All of these experiences have changed my life and the lives of the young people getting involved. The main idea behind my work is to empower others just like as EMpower and ZOTO empowered me. I feel that anyone can be a leader and can make a difference in any age, anytime and anywhere. I believe that change can only happen when we all work together…”

We are proud to support the important work that ZOTO does in the Philippines, and were thrilled to be joined by Lydia. Learn more about ZOTO’s work here. See more photos from the presentation here.

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