Chibobo Orphanage Background

Help Ministries Project (HMP) began in 1993, and was founded by Abeauty Chibuye, a local man who had the vision of helping to restore the dignity of people living in rural Africa. HMP wanted local people to be in control of their own lives, health and to have food security.

Overnewton Anglican Community College became involved through Kevin Gilbert, a former deputy head of the College. Kevin learnt of HMP’s work during his work as an Australian Volunteer’s International worker at the nearest town of Serenje, where he was teaching. Kevin visited the village of Chibobo and the impact of HIV AIDS on the community came home to him. Along with Abeauty Chibuye he set up the ‘100 Orphans Project’ in May 2003. The vision was to assist 100 AIDS orphans by providing a place for them to live and be educated during the week, whilst enabling them to maintain contact with their families at weekends and on holidays (and hence not become institutionalised).

Overnewton’s initial focuses was on supporting the orphans and the College community have contributed to their upkeep as well as providing clothes, educational materials and health care. Members of the College community have travelled to Chibobo in 2004, 2005 & 2007 to work with the community and help them to achieve their visions. It is through this involvement that our vision has widened as it was seen how the future of the orphans is intertwined with the future of their local community. Overnewton is helping the community move towards their goal of self-sustainability. It has enabled 3 locals to receive teacher training, which has also allowed the orphans to attend the local Basic (Government) school. Nurses have been trained, a medical clinic built (with solar power), famine relief and a new well provided as well as providing for basic needs. We are currently focusing on solar power, an increase in the numbers of orphans being looked after at the orphanage, whilst a group from St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Sunbury, Victoria, constructed a new playground at the local school. However, the needs are great and Chibobo’s sponsors are always aiming to provide the resources and skills required for this small community to grow and have a decent standard of living.
The work is best summed up in the words of an African proverb: ‘It takes a Village to raise a child’.  The Overnewton school ‘village’ is working with the community of Chibobo to give their children hope for the future.