The Compassion Orphanage in Butembo was set up 20 years ago by Mbambu and her husband Rev Kasereka. They adopted a child with severe learning and physical disabilities who had been abandoned in the maternity where Mbambu worked as a nurse midwife. Because of their extraordinary love and generosity they took in more children after the first adopted child died, while looking after their own three children. The numbers grew quickly, all living in Mbambu and Kasereka’s home, to which Kasereka had built extensions. But the site became untenable when a huge crevasse developed in the road leading up to the house, and they had to rent small house 7 kilometres on the other side of town. In 2020 work completed on the second of four planned houses at a new site for the orphans. This house was built with funds from Semiliki, Congo Church Association and St Andrews, Oxford.
There are currently over 50 children in the orphanage, and many more children have been adopted by local families. The children are brought in usually as babies or toddlers after losing their parents in some of the brutal conflicts that North Kivu province has experienced. The stories these children arrive with are desperate, but the staff at the Compassion Orphange provide a secure, loving environment for them to be nurtured in. Semiliki’s longer term aim is to support the project in getting the children fostered and adopted, but with the on-going conflict in the area and the severe epidemics of Ebola and now Covid it has not been possible yet to safely work on these options.