Little local charity Orphfund makes big difference

Lot 19's Mark Anstey and Orphfund founder Steve Argent with a couple of the works which will feature in the Orpfund Exhibition.

Castlemaine art space Lot 19 is hosting an exhibition to celebrate the story of local charity Orphfund.
The Orphfund Story: A photographic journey provides an insight into the charity’s work through the lens of Orphfund founder and fine arts photographer Steve Argent.
The exhibition tracks Orphfund’s 14 years working at the coalface to change the lives of orphans, vulnerable and marginalised children in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya and Cambodia, offering life’s essentials, shelter, care, support, education, clean water, nutrition and healthcare.
The stunning photographs have been mounted in beautiful old flour mill timber frames painstakingly brought back to life by Steve’s dedicated wife Leah Bailey and mounted by a band of wonderful helpers.
Lot 19’s Mark Anstey has been volunteering with Orphfund for the past few years and wanted to hold an event that would highlight the efforts of the Castlemaine-based charity, raise important funds and encourage more local volunteers to get involved.
Mark recently travelled to Sierra Leone with Steve where the pair spent 10 days working with staff and a couple of the older children to plan the next stage of the children’s education.
“Over the last 14 years things have constantly evolved, as the children have grown their needs have changed, some are now pursuing higher education with a view to pursuing careers where they can give back to their communities, and we are assessing and adding more children as we can,” Steve said.
Last year Orphfund was granted Schools Approval and government support for their teachers, was listed by the ministry of social welfare and UNICEF as providing a high level of care, and received World Food Program support.
“You don’t have to go overseas to volunteer. You can do it right here by volunteering doing administration, sponsoring a child or making a small donation,” Mark said.
“Thanks to our volunteers we can spend 100 per cent of funds donated on the ground helping kids in remote communities where the other bigger charities are rarely seen,” Steve said.
The exhibition will open to the public at the Langslow Street venue this weekend September 28-29 and the weekend of October 5-6 from 10am to 5pm each day. There will also be a range of events throughout the week including a volunteer information evening, an African banquet dinner (see website for tickets), and a fundraising party.
“We invite the community to come along and find out more about Orphfund and its amazing work,” Mark said.
To find out more about the exhibition and events visit the Facebook page @Orphfund or to learn more about the charity visit