"I had confidence that if the community members organized themselves, we could try and keep the children home by providing care and love."
The AIDS epidemic was devastating northern Malawi. In a matter of months, grandparents, aunts and uncles in the Karonga district were suddenly expanding their families from 5 children to 15 or 20 as orphans came to live with them. Families just couldn't afford to feed so many extra mouths. Many children took to the streets.
The shock of seeing a little boy stealing, and then singing about it, is what first inspired Sister Beatrice Chipeta to do something. An orphan herself, she knew that caring for orphans was not something she could do alone.
Sister Beatrice began walking Malawi's long dirt roads to meet with village chieftains. Along the way, she saw many children living in the streets and scavenging for food.
"I had no money, and I couldn't think of anywhere to get assistance," says Sister Beatrice, "but I had confidence that if the community members organized themselves, we could try and keep the children home by providing care and love."
Through faith, determination and innovation, Sister Beatrice founded the Lusubilo Orphan Care project. Lusubilo means "hope," and hope has spread quickly thanks to Sister Beatrice and the people who believed in her. Through the generosity of Catholics in the United States, Catholic Relief Services has partnered with the Lusubilo Orphan Care project since 2005.
Lusubilo helps 9,500 children in 66 communities in northern Malawi. In addition to childcare centers and community gardens, the project also runs an orphanage that shelters 70 children. The orphanage also provides infant formula for babies whose mothers have either died or cannot produce milk and home-based care to 1,200 people with HIV. And it teaches agricultural skills and provides food baskets to orphan-headed households.
Learn more about the Lusubilo Orphan Care project.
Learn how the faith and generosity of our supporters has helped Catholic Relief Services do the impossible—stem the tide of AIDS in the developing world. Watch this video.
"The world does need help."
Since 1943, Catholic Relief Services' work has been made possible by compassionate and generous people across the United States, many of them young people.
Teachers and administrators at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Baltimore, Maryland, spent a week helping students find ways to live in solidarity with poor people around the world.
"By doing this, I'm being a servant of God," says high school sophomore Amanda Simms (pictured, right, with a classmate). "It's about getting more involved in service, being peacemakers and being more connected in my relationship with God."
Sophomore Erica Wheeler says she had a revelation during chemistry class. As Erica and her classmates learned how to filter dirty water, they discussed how many people around the world don't have access to clean water.
"I just realized how blessed I am that I can turn water on and just be able to drink it whenever I want," Erica says. "I have these opportunities, and I should be more thankful for them every day."
For many of the youngest students, the week provided an opportunity to learn about issues beyond their family, school and community. "I think it gives the students a chance to see that there are people all over the world that need help, not just here at Mount Carmel," says Christine Olszewski, elementary school principal.
"It's life changing," Erica says. "The world does need help."
Learn more about Catholic Relief Services' iNeighbor program.Back to Top