Welcome to Mwana!

"Mwana" is a Congolese word for "child." 

Our motto is “One child at a time” because we can’t change the world, but we can change one child’s world. And that is why we do what we do… one child at a time.

Founded in Montreal in 2010, Mwana Villages has been assisting orphans and widows in Congo in various ways. We have also acquired 37 acres (15 hectares) of land, which will be used for farming as a step toward sustainability. 

Recognizing the problem of babies being abandoned in the streets of Pointe-Noire, we opened our first home for babies. We received an average of one baby a week in the first eight weeks, thus quickly reaching capacity. We are therefore now working on opening a second home for abandoned babies.

Our founders, Cheryl Walker and Lambert Laki-Laka, with their six children moved to the Congo to be able to take care of things on the ground. Cheryl is a volunteer and a home-schooling mom, and Lambert works for a company in the Congo. 

Mwana Villages is a grass-roots charity and a volunteer organization. When you give to Mwana, your money is not going to pay anyone’s big salary. The only salaries Mwana Villages pays are those of locals working to take care of the children we are saving. It is creating local employment, relieving poverty and providing education and training to the young women who work with us, which is a step toward prevention. 

Read the 2014 Annual Report here.

"I cry for you, Africa, and the many suffering people you hold in your mighty grip. 

I see so much ugliness, yet extreme beauty... it's so hard to grasp. 

A child cries in desperation... who will save me? Is anyone listening? 

Does anyone know my name? Does anyone care?" 

Mwana in the Media


Learn more about Mwana Villages in the media!

Click on the image to watch the Focus Montreal interview with Jamie Orchard

Hear Cheryl's interview on CJAD's Barry Morgan show!

 Interview and article in French on Radio-Canada

About Mwana

The vision of Mwana is to build orphan villages that will provide vulnerable children with a better living environment and an opportunity to learn practical subjects and trades so they can become Congo’s leaders of tomorrow.

These villages will include several houses that will each shelter orphans and abandoned children and women who will take care of them in a family setting. There will be a school, a clinic and many other facilities on the land. The children will learn skills useful for their future, such as farming, sewing, welding and so on.

This concept, now becoming more and more desirable and popular in other African countries, sets itself apart from institutional orphanages because each child lives in a house and enjoys a mother’s affection and a bond with brothers and sisters. He or she has the opportunity for his or her gifts to be identified and cultivated, to blossom and be healthy in every way, as opposed to life in an institution where he or she has to follow a routine and can be lost in the group rather than be given the attention he or she needs as an individual. 

Why a home for abandoned babies?

Since we got started as a charity in 2010, we knew our goal was to rescue orphans and abandoned children in the Congo, and that's what we've been doing since then, in many different ways. Our vision has always been to set up a multi-functional, self-sustaining village for orphans and abandoned children. When Cheryl and Lambert moved to the Congo in 2012, the problem of babies being abandoned in the city of Pointe-Noire became apparent. So, as we move forward carefully and wisely with the plans to build a village over time (we have finished paying off 15 hectares (37 acres) of land), we are also meeting an immediate need right in Pointe-Noire by having this baby home.

Within the first eight weeks of opening the first refuge for abandoned babies, we received eight babies. That is an astonishing average of one baby per week! We need to prepare for the increasing need and quickly open a second baby home.

We still want to stay away from the institutional-like setting of a typical orphanage so we are renting a house and the mamas who take care of the babies sleep together in the bedrooms with them. We make sure to keep a comfortable family-setting and provide each baby with the one-on-one attention it needs. It is rare that we put babies in the cribs during the day. Everyone is together in the living room sitting on mats on the floor, playing with toys, reading books, singing songs and doing developmental exercises.

People often ask, "What will happen next in the lives of these babies? Where will they go as they get older?" Some children will be placed in loving families. Some will go live in Mwana Village. Either way, we will grow with them and love them as our own all the way.