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About Orbus

Orbus Australia is a Christian ministry by numerous churches in Australia helping orphaned and vulnerable children in partnership with communities in need. 

Orbus was established in early 2007 with the primary aim of: assisting orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in impoverished communities, through initiating development projects which will help individuals to reverse the cycles and consequences of poverty.

Orbus aims to care for orphaned children through assisting with the provision of education opportunities, skills development initiatives and improved health facilities such as clean water and improved sanitation.

Orbus' first project, the Orbus Centre in Ngumbe, Malawi, was opened in July 2010 and is now held in trust by the CCAP Blantyre Synod in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Victoria (Australia) to be used for the purpose of caring for orphans and vulnerable children.

By encouraging and developing a partnership between volunteers from Australia, and elsewhere, and the local communities such as Ngumbe, Orbus also hope to develop and nurture relationships and open up a network  for their community which may provide opportunities to enhance their future.   Orbus’ motivation comes out of a concern for the spiritual and physical wellbeing of orphaned children.

Orbus is a Partner Mission Society of Mission Partners (Australian Presbyterian World Mission or APWM).

Rather than continue a process of aid which simply provides money for needy situations, Orbus hopes to assist children to make the most of their God given talents by being encouraged to develop them in an entrepreneurial, nurturing, loving and safe environment, where being dependent on foreign handouts will be discouraged and where individuals abilities to work, grow, create and prosper will be encouraged.

"Blessed is he that considereth the poor" (Psalm 41:1). Many people give their money to the poor, the weak, the helpless, and the needy in a hurry and without thinking whether that is the best way to help them; and many more give (and do) nothing at all. Psalm 41:1 tells us that we should “consider” the poor i.e. we should analyze their particular situation, prepare plans that will really help them, not just on a short-term basis but longer-term structural help, and then we should thoughtfully carry these plans out. As Charles Spurgeon said, “We can do more by care than by cash, and most with two together.” Orbus aims to do what we can to provide this type of considered help for orphaned children.

In our attempt to do this Orbus aims to help orphaned children through general education opportunities, with a particular emphasis on teaching practical skills as the children grow older. The aim is to encourage each child to become initiative-taking, self-sufficient, community-participating and economic-contributing adults, enabling them to earn a living, lead, manage and support their own families, and make a positive contribution to their communities. 

Why does Orbus exist?

 

In obedience to God’s word, to try to help children who have lost one or both parents or who are considered vulnerable (OVC). Vulnerable is described as a child whose parents cannot parent them fully or properly due to being very sick, very poor or uninterested to the point where the child is in the same situation as an orphan of not having an adult who loves them enough to care for them properly and provide things which children need such as nutritious food, shelter, clothes or education. Unicef estimate there are approximately 1m orphans in Malawi out of a population of 14m, due mostly to HIV/AIDS. The challenge for us is how best do we help these children?

 

Armed with biblical wisdom, a biblical understanding of the sinful human person, and our created purpose, along with the benefit of the experience of the past many decades of mostly ineffective Western aid to Africa, we try to do our best to help children in need, but in complete dependence upon God.

 

The decades long response of giving large amounts of money and resources (including container loads of goods) to poor African countries through Western governments, churches and aid organisations, has created a systemic and destructive state of dependency, and constant temptations to sin, all of which offers no solutions and no hope. This is often wrongly demanded of the West as a way of repaying the past evils of Colonialism. One of the gaols of our involvement in Malawi should be to help the poor move beyond dependency.

 

The sad reality is that most of this type of aid never even reaches those in real need but is intercepted beforehand. Despite the best of good intentions by the senders, it is mostly a transfer of wealth from well meaning, generous and concerned people in developed countries to smart interceptors in developing countries, whose interest is mostly selfish rather than in helping the poor.

 

True, much of it although corruptly dealt with can still trickle though a poor economy and provide some assistance, but if this is done sinfully can it be blessed by God? When Jesus saw the corruption in the Temple, He didn't excuse it, or overlook it, or put it down to cultural practices, or let it continue, He turned the corrupt trader's lives upside down.

 

Trillions of dollars in aid over the last sixty years has been ineffective and has been unable to lift the poorest countries out of extreme poverty. Much of it ends up in rich African’s UK or European bank accounts and does not even help their local economy.

 

As Christians, we cannot do nothing however, we must continue to be charitable, to try to help the poor, orphans, widows, do good to the family of believers and indeed to all people, all the while spreading the one thing (the greatest good we can do to a fellow human) that can save people, the Gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. But we should try to do so as wisely as possible, which means learning from the past, as well as from God’s word.

 

Jesus says we should make disciples of all nations and that we should teach them to obey everything He has commanded us. So if a system is broken and corrupted should Christians feed it? Is that what Jesus did in the market place inside the Temple?

 

PovertyCure puts it well when they say:

"Christ calls us to solidarity with the poor, but this means more than assistance. It means viewing the poor as partners. It means lowering barriers and inviting them into existing networks of productivity and exchange. Charity and almsgiving play an indispensible role in our efforts to help the poor, and yet the goal for charitable organizations should be to help the poor move beyond dependency. No country ever became wealthy and self-sufficient through foreign assistance—public or private. In the long-run, sustainable supplies of food, clean water, health, and education are created by local wealth-creating economies.

Christians have sometimes looked to large, secular political entities and international organizations as the lodestar for helping the poor. This is an understandable but inadequate response. First, many of these groups begin with a mistaken vision of the human person. If we are going to help the poor, we must first understand the nature and destiny of human beings. Second, despite many good intentions, large-scale foreign aid plans have been largely ineffective. It is time to change." 

www.povertycure.org

Some of the aims and goals of Orbus are similar to the ones outlined below from the PovertyCure website:

  • Promote the dignity of the person and the family.
  • Shift the locus of responsibility from international organizations to the poor themselves.
  • Encourage vibrant communities and voluntary civil associations—distinct from the state—since they are crucial for authentic human flourishing and help build solidarity.
  • Build and encourage institutions of private property, rule of law, free association, free exchange and a culture of trust in order to
    • create a positive climate for business and entrepreneurship.
    • connect the poor to networks of productivity and circles of exchange.
    • promote the freedom to pursue productive work free of oppression and theft.
    • promote a culture of enterprise that unleashes human potential and enterprise.
  • Promote authentic respect for the health and dignity of women and children from conception to natural death.
  • Promote free, honest and competitive market economies—not oligarchic or crony capitalism.
  • Create conditions and institutions that allow people in the developing world to develop and sustain ready access to clean water.
  • Shift the focus in the development community away from government-to-government transfers and toward face-to-face partnerships informed by local knowledge and marked by mutual respect and understanding.
  • Free up developing countries to combat malaria and other diseases using the same effective tools the developed world has used to eradicate diseases.
  • Repudiate presumptions that the poor are helpless, and cultivate respectful relationships between Christians from the developed and developing worlds.

 

One over-riding point needs to be made when we talk about poverty: Like this world poverty is fading away for those made rich by faith. The poorest of the poor is the richest of the rich if he/she has faith in Jesus, which is worth more than all the gold on earth.

 

"For the needy shall not always be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. (Psalm 9:18)"

 

"Poverty is a hard heritage; but those who trust in the Lord are made rich by faith. They know that they are not forgotten of God, and though it may seem that they are overlooked in His providential distribution of good things, they look for a time when all this shall be righted. Lazarus will not always lie among the dogs at the rich man's gate, but he will have his recompense in Abraham's bosom. Even now the Lord remembers His poor but precious sons, "I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me," said one of old, and it is even so. The godly poor have great expectations. They expect the Lord to provide them all things necessary for this life and godliness; they expect to see things working for their good; they expect to have all the closer fellowship with their Lord, who had not where to lay His head; they expect His second advent and to share its glory. This expectation cannot perish, for it is laid up in Christ Jesus, who liveth forever, and because He lives, it shall live also. The poor saint singeth many a song which the rich sinner cannot understand. Wherefore, let us, when we have short commons below, think of the royal table above." Charles Spurgeon.

 

Although some of these children have lost their parents, or are in vulnerable situations, and although some of them are alone in this world, and due to the AIDS virus and other illnesses like malaria and cholera, some of these children may die very young, there is still an ever present Hope: Click here to read further about this Hope.

Orbus has established the Orphan Care Centre at Ngumbe, Blantyre in Malawi, Central Africa to care for orphans. The Centre is not a residential orphanage but rather a day facility but has emergency accomodation available.

 


Orbus is a Christian charity. A statement of what we believe may be found online at the  Presbyterian Church of Australia website and in the Westminster Confession of Faith .