orphans in africa
How to Help Orphans in Africa

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

orphans in africa
How to Help Orphans in Africa

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

We’ve long heard about humanitarian crises on the continent of Africa and while many organizations have taken action to alleviate critical issues like access to clean water, health epidemics, rural poverty, and more – the need is still great. 

When there is so much to do, it can seem like a long-enduring uphill battle. We have hope, however, because we have witnessed encouraging progress, particularly in our efforts to help orphans in Africa. See what’s been done and how you can help us continue to provide homes, health, and opportunities to children in critical need.

By the Numbers: Orphans in Africa

Bread and Water for Africa supports orphanages in four countries: Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. A huge percentage of these populations are children, and millions of these children face humanitarian challenges like poverty, flooding, drought, and disease – whether they have a family or not. But without anyone to care for and protect them, orphans in these countries face even harsher conditions.

In Zimbabwe, over 26% of children under 18 are not living with a parent (about 1.65 million), and the majority of these children have been orphaned or abandoned (UNICEF). 

Kenya has about 24 million children (about half of the population). Nearly half of these children live in poverty, with 42% living on just $2/day, and two million of them are orphans.

While most countries around the world have mitigated what was once known as the AIDS epidemic through education, medication and treatment, such is not the case in Tanzania  as the numbers of orphaned children continue to grow in the country of 21 million due to AIDS deaths, as well as unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and a general “absence of love.”

In Zambia, over half of the country’s population are under the age of 18, and it has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Africa – on top of at least 41% suffering from inadequate housing, nutrition, education, and sanitation. Zambia is estimated to have about 1.4 million orphans.

How We Assist Orphans in Africa

With our partners in Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, we give orphaned or abandoned children a safe, loving home with access to food, clean water, healthcare, counseling, and education. We take care of their basic needs while providing a platform where they can grow and live a better life when they enter adulthood.

In Kenya, we provide care for children at Lewa Children’s Home. In Zambia, we support Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Center. In Zimbabwe, help the Lerato Children’s Village.

Here are some of our stories of hope and progress:


The Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Center was founded 20 years ago by our long-standing partner Angela Miyanda. Since then, hundreds of children have received loving care, taking them from mere survival to living well and thriving.

One young girl was sent from her family’s home and village to seek work in Lusaka in order to help support her family. Her employer, however, soon cast her out because she couldn’t not keep up with all the household tasks they gave her. She was abandoned on the streets of Lusaka with no way to get back home. 

Officers found her, however, and brought her to the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Center. There, Angela cared for her, and then returned her to her village. However, she knew that the girl’s future was bleak there. 

The girl returned to the orphanage and received a safe and stable home and opportunities she would have never had in her previous life, including an education.

Another boy, John, was abandoned by his mother in Lusaka when he was just three years old. Authorities found him and brought him to the Kabwata Orphanage and Transit Center. Angela became his “mommy” and the other children his “brothers and sisters.”

When he was seven, his grandfather was located; however, his life with his grandfather was not ideal as it gave him no opportunity for education. John returned to the orphanage and is now starting secondary school, looking forward to a life filled with hope and promise.


In a similar, sad situation as John, three brothers were abandoned by their mother. A woman nearby heard them crying and brought them to the Lewa Children’s Home. Its founder and director Phyllis Keino took them in and gave them the love and care they needed. 

She noted that when the boys arrived they were malnourished, had “many ailments” and no education. They even showed signs of being mentally challenged.

However, with a stable home, healthcare, and education, the brothers are thriving together and now have a promising further thanks to the Lewa Children’s Home and our supporters.

This orphanage has been helping children for over three decades. It’s an enduring partnership between our organization and Phyllis Keino who’s been caring for abandoned children in Kenya since the 1970s. 

Another heartwarming success story concerns twins Lily and Levi whose mother suffered from mental illness and lived on the streets. When she gave birth, the twins were given into the care of Phyllis and the Lewa Children’s Home by the local government. 

Today, the twins are happy, healthy, and thriving in a stable, caring environment where they’re now receiving a primary education and have a real chance at a better life.


The Lerato Children’s Village in Zimbabwe is operated by our longtime partner Shinga Development. Their mission is to meet the basic needs of orphaned or vulnerable children and “empower children with the goal of helping them reach their full potential leading to self-sufficiency.” 

The Lerato Children’s Village, which is run by founder and director Margaret Makambira, provides food, shelter, healthcare, and education – and an environment where they are nourished but also loved. Their physical, mental, social, and emotional growth are all valued and regularly assessed. Self-reliance, human rights, and many other life topics are also taught.

Melissa is one story of hope out of senseless tragedy. When both of her parents died, she was passed around from relative to relative until they accused her of being a witch and abandoned her at just 10 years old.

She then was brought by the government to Lerato Children’s Village. While at first, she was quiet and withdrawn, with love and support, she is now adjusting well, making friends, and starting her education journey. 

Another girl – just a toddler – was also abandoned by her mother. When she came to Lerato Children’s Village, she was scared, severely malnourished, and shows signs of abuse. Margaret and the people at the orphanage took her in, gave her a safe and loving home, and provided the nutrition and healthcare she needed to recover and thrive.

Now she is receiving a balanced, nutritious diet, has recovered from her injuries, is learning socialization skills, and making friends.


In 2022, the  founder and program director of Watoto Wa Africa (Children of Africa), Josephat Kirutu reached out to Bread and Water for Africa® for urgent help in preventing the orphanage he operates in Mwanza, Tanzania for 86 children from being closed by the government due to several noted deficiencies.

Among the issues was a lack of proper beds and bedding for the children in the youth, which thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® not only were we able provide new mattresses, fix the broken bed frames that were repairable, and purchase additional ones along with new sheets and pillowcases, but we also outfitted each bed with mosquito nets to protect children from contracting malaria.

With our new partnership established and the number of children and youth residing at the orphanage since increased to 108, along with the fact that Josephat had informed us of the loss of a longtime benefactor of the orphanage had put severe financial strain on its operations, we are once again turning to our supporters for help in keeping the children housed and fed.

“Our aim is to improve the welfare of vulnerable children and provide for their basic needs – shelter, food, clothing, education, medical care, etc.,” says Josephat. “We aim to promote an environment for the most vulnerable children in which they can play and positively develop to reach their full potential.”

 He explained that the issue of orphans and those he refers to as “street children” is “acute due to urbanization and industrialization” and that a “recent drought in our area has aggravated the situation further.”

While most countries around the world have mitigated what was once known as the AIDS epidemic through education, medication and treatment, such is not the case in Tanzania   as the numbers of orphaned children continue to grow in the country of 21 million due to AIDS deaths, as well as unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and a general “absence of love.”

“These orphans and street children are left without care and support,” says Josephat. “These children are involved in ‘rag picking’ (searching through trash in hopes of finding something “valuable” to sell for a few cents), pickpocketing and participating on other antisocial and criminal activities.”

Among those who have found a loving home and hope for a brighter future are Josephina who arrived at the orphanage at age 10 in 2014 with her then-4-year-old brother Julius who had lost their parents to AIDS.

“They were living with their very old grandmother who could not take care of them,” explained Josephat. “The local government authorities intervened and notified social welfare officials who brought them to us from a neighboring village.”

Josephina, now 19, is on the verge of completing her secondary school with dreams of becoming a nurse, while Julius, now 13, is attending primary school.

Help Us Continue Helping Orphans in Africa

These are just a few stories that show the power your support has to make a very real and lasting impact on the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable, at-risk children.

Fulfilling the basic, human rights and needs of these orphans – providing shelter, food, medical and mental healthcare, and vital education – is such a worthwhile and noble mission. We hope you can help us continue supporting these orphanages in Africa.

Please visit our donations page, and see all the ways you can give. Together, we can change the lives of the orphaned and abandoned in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

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