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Disaster strikes….

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We were shocked to hear from the Compassion Orphanage in Butembo that on the night of Thursday 1st June fire destroyed one of the three houses that the orphans live in. We thank God that no children or staff were hurt, but pastor Kasereka (who runs the orphanage with his wife Mbambu) went into the house six times to save the children who had been in the house when the first was first spotted.


Click on the video to see the dramatic images which appear after 10 seconds. 

The fire started from a short circuit in the cables and transformer from the solar panels. 28 children were living in the house. The kitchen block behind the house wasn’t affected, and the other two houses (which are more than 15 meters away) were not touched.

The orphanage compound of 3 houses before the fire which destroyed the house in the top left of the compound.

This first house was built with funds from CMS Ireland. Semiliki funded the second house in the bottom left in partnership with the CCA and St Andrew’s Church Oxford. The destroyed house needs to be urgently rebuilt as the 28 children are currently housed in (even more) overcrowded conditions. CMS Ireland will likely be the main partner supporting Compassion Orphanage in the reconstruction, but all help is urgently needed and Semiliki will contribute to the costs.

Donate here or transfer money direct to our Semiliki account and mark the transfer ‘Orphans house’.

The house before it was destroyed

This is yet one more huge challenge to be overcome for Mbambu, Kasereka and the team. With ongoing conflict all around Butembo, food prices are still 3 times above normal. The orphanage only accepts children from these conflict zones. While some children are being adopted by local families, more are coming in from the conflict, including a 2 week old baby whose mother, displaced from a village that was destroyed by militia, tragically died from bleeding after delivery.

Church leader Isesomo surveys the house the morning after the fire


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