The History of
Mozambique Orphanage Fund
The Mozambique Orphanage Fund (MOF) was formed when several interested churches and members gathered in 2009. Originally organized as a donor advised fund within the United Methodist Frontier Foundation, MOF began with a board of directors composed of members from across the country – including Flower Mound (TX), New Milford (CT), Platte Woods (MO), and Sedalia (MO). MOF dedicated its purpose to increase fundraising and coordination of projects at the Carolyn Belshe Orphanage. As a result of MOF’s purpose, its goal to grow a mission of sharing the love of Jesus Christ to orphans and vulnerable children more broadly in Mozambique began to come into fruition. After some years of transitioning leadership, in 2014, MOF reorganized and gained IRS approval as a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity.
The History of
Carolyn Belshe Orphanage
In 1975, Mozambique gained its independence from Portugal.
From 1975 through 1992, Mozambique engaged in a civil war. The brutal war resulted in many deaths and created orphans and homeless children.
In 1990, a United Methodist missionary, Carolyn Belshe, who worked as an Administrator at a Rural Hospital in Mozambique began what would become the Mozambique Orphanage Fund. The Mozambican Bishop asked her to start an Orphanage for the many children that were victims of the war. She found a former leper colony out in the severely rural areas and brought about 6-8 children there. This was the start of the Carolyn Belshe Orphanage in Mozambique.
In 1999 and again in 2002 members of New Milford United Methodist Church (NMUMC), New Milford, CT., visited the orphanage and came back determined to raise funds. They desired to build a new orphanage at a location that would allow access to church, schools and social opportunities for the children. The United Methodist Mission Station of Cambine, which contained a church, schools, a clinic, and an agriculture program existed 25 miles away from CBO’s primary location. Due to the immense amount of centralized resources, it became the ideal location for the new orphanage.
By 2005, NMUMC raised the funds, completed the buildings, and moved the then 30 children from the leper colony to the new orphanage in Cambine. Kay Jones, one of our current Board Members, was one of 6 volunteer in missions from NMUMC that went to Cambine in August 2005 for the dedication. During the dedication, the Methodist Church officially named it Carolyn Belshe Orphanage (CBO).
From 1990 to 2008, churches from three United Methodist Church Conferences in the US – including New York, Missouri, and Texas sent volunteer in missions teams to raise funds for the orphanage.
Today there are approximately 60 orphans at CBO at any point in time.
The History of
Dondo is a suburb of Beira the third largest city in Mozambique. It is on the main East-West highway leading to the Port of Beira, a major seaport receiving and shipping goods and raw materials from inland Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. As a result, trucks are rolling through Dondo 24 hours a day/365 days a year. Metropolitan Beira has the highest rate of HIV+ individuals in all of Mozambique in large part because of this heavy traffic. The incidence of orphan children is also very high for this reason.
As far back as 2004, the Church has had plans to build an orphanage to provide food and shelter to many of these children. For the past 7 years, the local church has operated a feeding program to provide shelf-stable food on a weekly basis. During a mission trip to visit Carolyn Belshe (CBO) in Cambine, Mozambique in 2014, two of our Board Members had the opportunity to meet with the United Methodist Bishop Joaquina Nhanala to discuss a variety of topics, and she raised her concerns about the needs of the orphans of Dondo. She asked if MOF would be willing to look into this and see what we could do to help.
In 2015 another Mission Trip that included 5 MOF Board Members, visited Dondo and met with the church leaders for that area. It was during that visit that we learned of the plans going back to 2004, and their desire to have an orphanage there like CBO to help alleviate the need for orphan care there. MOF does not build orphanages, but we do interact with other organizations that do provide funds for construction in support of the care for orphans and vulnerable children. Foundation for Orphans (F4O) is one such organization, and upon hearing of this need they began the planning process for supporting the construction of an orphanage in Dondo. In 2016 Funds were raised and construction began in 2017. The new orphanage at Dondo is expected to be operational in May 2018, and MOF will be a major funder of the ongoing operating expense of the orphanage.