In 2004 the first group of people made up of staff, parents and senior students from Overnewton travelled to Chibobo, Zambia to build a playground for the then Orphanage. Since then the College and partners St Mary’s Anglican Church, have sent groups to visit and help the Orphanage (now Children’s Centre) and community each year and has raised money and collected items for much needed necessities including school books and uniforms, bicycles and other equipment. These tours have given all participants an invaluable insight into the enormous challenges faced by the community at Chibobo. Importantly, they have also enabled us to give practical support, time and labour towards the completion of some of the Help Ministries Project (HMP) Team’s specific projects and to build strong personal connections with our friends.
Each year, primarily through the efforts of students and their families, the College raises upwards of $35,000 to help the community of Chibobo and the Orphanage. Overnewton has conducted many service learning/mission tours to the Centre involving students, staff, parents and Old Collegians.
The district of Chibobo is located approximately 450 kms north of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city. It is 10 kms west of the main north-south highway, on a dirt track. The closest major town is Serenje, which is 30 kms north of Chibobo. Several hundred people live in the district. Approximately 500 children (aged from about 5 to 15) are enrolled in the Chibobo Basic School. More than 120 of these children are orphans, or vulnerable children, many of whom live at the Chibobo Children’s Centre.
The Centre is run by the Help Ministries Project (HMP) Management Team. Since 2003, Overnewton has supported the HMP Team in many practical ways through active fundraising to help meet the costs associated with maintaining the Orphanage and caring for the 50-60 children. Overnewton has encouraged the HMP Team to identify their needs and to prioritise items for the ongoing development of the Chibobo Children’s Centre towards self-sufficiency. Some of the many projects that have been supported include the construction of a playground, the provision of clothing for the children, educational materials for their schooling, the development of a Library, the provision of water tanks, seeds for crops, funds to purchase chickens and materials for the HMP Farm.
Overnewton's support has also extended into the community, following the truth that "it takes a village to raise a child". Strong links have been forged with the local community leaders, with Overnewton responding to community needs. A medical clinic was built, funded by Overnewton and St Mary’s so that the Chibobo community has access to healthcare in a local setting, and in 2019 the newly built annexed Maternity Ward was officially opened, saving the lives of many mothers to be and newly delivered babies. Our biggest project to date, a the Chibobo Secondary School was completed and opened when our group visited in 2017.