GOOD DEED: Aussies for Orphans members Steve Lewis, Bob Grivas and Janelle Gibson, with Michael Shay of  LJ Hooker Ballina and
GOOD DEED: Aussies for Orphans members Steve Lewis, Bob Grivas and Janelle Gibson, with Michael Shay of LJ Hooker Ballina and

House sale to benefit orphans

By MARY MANN HOW can a house in Ballina help orphaned children overseas?

'Someone just has to buy it', Aussies For Orphans volunteer Janelle Gibson said.

And the money raised will assist the Lennox Head charity in housing orphaned kids in Africa.

Janelle has seen first hand how hard life can be for disadvantaged kids who live in the slums or who have been abandoned by their mothers suffering AIDS.

She has dedicated the past two years of her life working with AFO to try and make it better for them.

"Children shouldn't have to live in poverty," Janelle said.

"There's no one to hold them."

The home, currently under construction at Ballina Heights, will be auctioned next January.

The big day is expected to be filmed by the crew from television show Hot Property.

The money raised will go towards the Adziwa Orphan Program in Malawi, the Home of Hope Children's Home in Sri Lanka and the Mbagathi Children's Village in Kenya.

The amazing part is how much the Northern Rivers community has backed the project, helping Aussies For Orphans (AFO) get the house up as cheaply as possible.

Etosha Homes is building the house at cost price, with assistance from LJ Hooker Ballina and many generous local trades people, businesses and community groups such as Rotary.

"The more we make at auction, the more we can help the kids," Janelle said.

Janelle recently returned from a self-funded six-month trip to Kenya where she did volunteer work with children at Mbagathi Farm School and the Mbagathi Children's Village.

"This was a life changing experience for me, so much so I intend to return to Kenya in January to continue working with these children," she said.

"I miss them so much."

Janelle said the support from the community made a huge difference in the children's lives.

"It is incredible," she said.

"I've seen the potential of a child when they are given safe accommodation, food, clean water, love, support and an education.

"These things are all basic human rights ... things these children at the school now have access to."

AFO was founded by Lennox Head couple Sue and Steve Lewis in 2005.

With help from the local community, AFO has already achieved three major projects, including a home for 24 boys in Sri Lanka affected by the 2004 tsunami and the civil war.

AFO has also built a boarding home in Nairobi, Kenya for 40 girls to attend a school, and is building two three-bedroom homes for orphans in Malawi.

Funds are also being raised through the Coffee For Life project. For the price of a cup of coffee each week, $12 per month, you can help fund further AFO projects.

Hot Property is also expected to film the Coffee For Life launch on November 24, and a working bee at the house.



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