About Us


The work of creating self-sustaining villages and fostering independence has been sponsored by Village Empowerment (formerly Rescue Incorporated) and other affiliates for over 13 years. In 1997, Don Smith became concerned with reports of food shortages and malnutrition in several African countries; problems that occur on a yearly basis.

After considerable research, Don discovered that most of the money sent to these countries and villages from American charitable organizations never reach its target destination. The result is that hundreds of children die before the age of six.  A lot of them have polio and receive no help from their government. There is only one doctor for every 10,000 people, and it’s very difficult to reach many of the villages as there are no roads or vehicles. 

Don was moved to see if he could help in some small way.

Drawing on his years of running a successful construction company, Don immediately went to work on developing a program he could take to these villages to help them become self-sustainable. Making a trip to one of the poorest African countries, Malawi, and then to Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique, what he discovered was an abundance of good farmland and a very willing work force. Water sources were often adequate from rivers and streams and wells could be bored or hand dug. The fundamental problem was getting the water to the land.

Rainfall, if any, comes in a 2 to 3-month period; sometimes too much, sometimes too little, sometimes not at all or at the wrong time. The climate was perfect for 2 or 3 crops a year if the land could be built up with fertilizer and irrigated.

The local people were willing and wonderful workers. All they need is a little help to solve their own problem.

They appreciate charity but really want and need tools, pipes, pumps, fertilizer, and the know-how so they can work and support themselves and their families. All that is needed is to teach them how to irrigate their fields and install and repair equipment. Village Empowerment supplies the equipment. Those living in Africa supply the labor.

Don created a unique program that is taken into small villages that are typically 20 to 25 miles from a town or city, where unemployment is 90-100%, and people are living on less than $1 a day.

13 years later, the program has been so successful that it has developed into not only food production, but also classes in the villages all taught by local volunteers in reading, sanitation, family planning, sewing, knitting, and proper farming methods. As funds permit, Village Empowerment serves these poor villages by providing the education, tools, resources and funding that help them become self-sustainable. That’s the very reason for the name “Village Empowerment.”

Our mission is to help villages throughout Africa become self-supporting within 12 months through education and local volunteers. That ‘parent’ village then sponsors another village and aids in their process of becoming self-supporting.

As a result, many lives are being saved, poor people are being fed, children and adults are learning to read, elderly people are being cared for, and orphanages are being supported.