DRC – Lubumbashi
IRAQ – Sulimanyah


In 1991 Carolyn Beleshe, then serving as a United Methodist Church missionary under the General Board of Global Ministries, established an orphanage near the village of Teles using buildings from an abandoned leper’s colony: this was the only location the Methodist Church of Mozambique could provide.

PartnersThe new orphanage offered the church something new: a location in which to save the lives of numerous orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) that, because of the ongoing wars, were being given to the church.

But the location was not ideal. Concerns at Teles included these concerns:

  • Education. The children at Teles had no formal opportunities for school.
  • Isolation. The leper’s colony had been selected to be far from other villages so that the lepers could be kept separate from the general population for fear of the disease spreading. The children at Teles developed close bonds among themselves but were severely limited socially.
  • Malaria. The Teles orphanage was located near a swamp where malaria-infested mosquitos bred. The children were constantly sick from this crippling and sometimes fatal disease.
  • Health Care. The nearest health care facility was located approximately twenty miles away over sandy, dirt roads that are virtually impassible without a four-wheel drive vehicle. Emergency situation of life or death usually meant death.
  • Food. Being so far removed from other populations, the orphanage was neglected and frequently had no food or supplies for the children. Most infants received bottles of milk on a rotating, every other day basis. Food for the other children was severely limited, with children sometimes missing meals for days.
  • Potable water. The water at Teles untreated swamp water: need I say more?
  • Electricity. Several small solar panels, connected to batteries, offered the only electricity available at Teles. A sun-filled day would enable three light bulbs to be lit for 3 – 4 hours each night.
  • Spiritual. Although the orphanage was run by the women of the Mozambiquan Methodist Church, there was no church nearby.

In 2002 Wayne Lavender led a Volunteer in Mission (VIM) trip to Mozambique that visited the Teles Orphanage. Pictured above are some images of that visit. Ensuing discussions with the orphanage director, district superintendent, women’s division coordinator and bishop led to the decision to move the children to a better location 30 miles away. Thus began a campaign to raise $85,000 to construct a new home for these children at the Methodist Missionary site of Cambine. Cambine offered all of the advantages Teles lacked, including access to schools, socialization, a health care clinic, food and potable water and a local church.

Today some 70 children live at the Carolyn Beleshe Orphanage (CBO), named in honor of Carolyn’s commitment to the least, the last and the lost. CBO offers its children the educational, emotional, physical and spiritual needs absent at Teles, including:

  • CBO is within walking distance of a church run pre-school and state run primary and secondary schools. Cambine is also home to a United Methodist Church seminary, where several of these children have trained to become ordained pastors.
  • CBO is now located in the midst of a larger community where the children are assimilated into the larger culture, interacting with other children in school, church, the market and the soccer pitch (CBO boasts a very successful soccer team!).
  • Moving away from the swampy area of Teles reduced the occurrence of malaria among the children: the threat of malaria has also been mitigated by the installation of mosquito nets in all of the children’s rooms.
  • A health clinic is less than .5 kilometers from the CBO.
  • With a higher visibility among visitors to Cambine and support from the Mozambique Orphanage Fund (and others), food shortages are rare at the CBO. Today children are thriving under a healthy diet.
  • A well produces ample, clean water for the residents of CBO as well as others in the community. Clean drinking water has dramatically reduced the water born diseases plaguing the children at Teles.
  • A/C power from the Mozambiquan grid provides reliable electricity to CBO 24 / 7.
  • CBO is located less than 1 kilometer from the Cambine United Methodist Church – providing the children with spiritual support and a church family.

Pictured below are some scenes from Cambine where the CBO is a model of how to provide community-based orphan care with great love and caring.


Mozambique is home to, sadly, an estimated 1.2 million orphans.

Pictured below is a group of orphans at the Dondo Center in Dondo, Mozambique. The resident bishop, Joaquina Filipe Nhanala, has requested that the Foundation 4 Orphans construct a new orphanage in Dondo that will provide a new home (and hope) for 48 orphans. The new Dondo Orphanage will be a community-based orphanage modeled on the Carolyn Beleshe Orphanage in Cambine, Mozambique that was constructed a decade ago under the leadership of the Rev. Wayne Lavender and the New Milford (CT) United Methodist Church.

The Mozambiquan government has provided 8 acres of land for this new orphanage and this location is close to a United Methodist Church, schools and a health care facility. Construction has already begun on the director’s building (pictured below): total costs for the new orphanage will be $110,000. The Jesse Lee Memorial UMC of Ridgefield, CT has as of 8/22/16 raised $93,000 towards this goal.

Project costs:

  • Two dormitories                             $37,766
  • Kitchen, DH, Bathrooms                 $23,870
  • Administration Block                      $15,090
  • Furniture                                         $6,350
  • Equipment                                       $3,254
  • Food, one year                               $24,000
  • Total                                           $110,930

The orphans at Dondo, with American missionaries from Mozambique Orphanage Fund (MOF), one of F4O’s partner organizations.

The first construction at Dondo: the foundation of the
Director’s House.


We are in the process of scoping a new orphanage request in the city of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Lubumbashi is in the far southwestern corner of the country and is the second largest city in the DRC, after the capital of Kinshasa.  Like the Dondo Orphanage, the local community has wanted to build an orphanage on this site for many years to address the orphan status problem, but there have never been funds available.  Like in Cambine, the Lubumbashi orphanage would be part of a compound with schools, a church and a medical facility immediately adjacent.  The project will house over 80 children when complete and the cost will be approximately 200K USD.  We have received a budget and are in the process of translating it before posting here – check back soon for more information.  If your church or other organization would like to learn how to lead fundraising to develop a covenant relationship with this project, please contact Wayne Lavender at


In 2011, Dr. Wayne Lavender accepted a teaching assignment at the University of Human Development in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. During his time there, he established a chapter of the Foundation 4 Orphans. Wayne worked with university students from his university and colleges nearby to create a mentor program for orphans and vulnerable children in Iraq where ongoing wars and conflicts continue to claim many lives. F4O continues to work throughout the region—and has expanded its mission from mentoring children in need to visiting refugee camps for those fleeing either the Syrian regime or areas overrun by ISIS.

The situation is different in Iraq than it is in Africa: instead of construction of orphanages, many orphans in Iraq have extended families ready and able to take them into their care. Yet these orphans are still vulnerable children and benefit tremendously from mentorship programs. These photos at the very bottom are of Kurdish University students and professors who were trained to mentor orphans. The photo on the bottom left was taken as we set up for a program in Halabja, the one on the bottom right following a program in Kalar.