Who We Are

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Kizungu Luanda Hubert – Founder/Leader

Kizungu was born on Idjwi island. He lived in a small village with his mother, step-father and sisters, and attended a Catholic primary school there until the age of 12. He was then accepted to St.Paul College in Bukavu, but his step father had just died and his mother did not have the money to pay the fees, so Kizungu spent the next year at home without any studies.


The following year, his mother sent him to Goma to stay with her brother, who was able to find Kizungu’s father, then living in Nyabiondo in Masisi territory. Kizungu went to secondary school in Masisi and achieved the highest grades at Nyabiondo Institute since its foundation. After many hardships Kizungu enrolled at the University of Lumumbashi and obtained a degree in Economics.


He returned to Goma in 2003 to find the city destroyed both by the eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo and by armed conflict. He was shocked by the devastation and the suffering, and he dreamed of being able to help “the orphaned and vulnerable children, widows and child-mothers, victims of sexual violence, and the vulnerable populations who live in misery.”  He became involved with the orphans of Masisi, where he had spent his high school days, and when some of those children were moved to Goma in 2008, he became the Director of the orphanage there. In 2012, he registered the NGO Volunteers in Mission for Children Care, and the family of 12 orphans which he started with in 2008 has grown over the years to become a huge family, including children, women and the most vulnerable people of Idjwi island.

Dr. Helen Pope

Dr. Helen Pope has a Ph.D. in Latin from Monash University, Melbourne. Her love of Classics led her to make her home in Italy, where she has lived since 1981, teaching Classics at both university and secondary school levels.


She began her volunteer work in 2001 in the Middle East, co-directing an International Work Camp in Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank every summer for 12 years. She first volunteered in Rwanda in 2009 at a preschool and made a chance visit across to the border to Goma. There she met Kizungu Hubert, and visited his orphanage.

From that first meeting, she was determined to help Kizungu  improve the lives of the orphaned children and vulnerable communities in his area. She has visited both Rwanda and DRC every year since 2009, and has taken high school students to work at a local school in Rwanda for 2 weeks every summer in a volunteer programme that she and a Rwandan friend set up. She has visited the Tchukudu Family in Goma every year, witnessed the wonderful progress made, and fallen in love with Idjwi Island and its people. Helen has also taken students to volunteer at 2 orphanages in Megalaya in India, and she has worked as a volunteer with refugees in Jordan, Lesbos and northern Greece.


Dr. Alberto Corbino

Dr.Alberto Corbino is a passionate Neapolitan who graduated in Political Science from the University of Federico II in Naples and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Padua. His first visit to DRC was in 2009, when he visited Kizungu’s orphanage on the outskirts of Goma.


For many years Alberto has devoted his time and efforts to humanitarian projects, both in Naples and further afield. In 2017, he established a charitable foundation in honour of his mother: the Fondazione Cariello Corbino, of which is he is the Director.


Through his foundation Alberto has made significant contributions to various projects for the Tchukudu family and is also one of the principal benefactors of another Congolese orphanage, Les Gazelles de Silvana, in Rumangabo in Virunga National Park.

Lee David Sims

Lee’s passion for helping people in small forgotten communities round the world begun with a trip to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015. What started as a trip to visit the Gorillas and learn about Conservation, ended with a chance meeting with Helen Pope at Virunga. This meeting led to Lee’s enthusiastic and active commitment to supporting the vulnerable communities in eastern DRC. Lee is the Genral Director of the Fondazione Cariello Corbino, and its UK representative. In 2019, together with Helen and Alberto, Lee visited the Tchukudu Kids’ Home in Goma and the island of Idjwi, and is now fully involved in working with Kizungu to develop economic empowerment projects for the local people on Idjwi. Over the last 2 years Lee has also worked very closely with Monica Norley in Brighton to empower a group of women affected by Albinism in Uganda (WACWAU, NGO). They have supported the women in creating their own soap brand which now enables them to employ and care for 10 of their community and spread their message across Uganda and beyond. Lee is also currently working with a friend, Dave Chorlton, to develop a fundraising platform called ‘The Skip It community’ where people skip luxuries or unhealthy things and instead donate to the community. The funds raised from this project have now started to support food programmes in Islamabad Pakistan via an NGO called Support Children.


Heather Haynes

Heather had already co-founded a boys and girls club in Moshi, Tanzania when she first met Kizungu by chance in January 2012.  She raised funds to build a new home for the Tchukudu Kids – bigger, better and more hygienic, and has worked tirelessly since then on many projects to improve the lives of the children and the local community.

Please read more about Heather’s work on her own site, and look at her amazing painting of 80 of the children, entitled The Wall of Courage.  




Cathy Cleary

Cathy has been actively involved in a number of humanitarian projects in both Tanzania and the DRCongo over the past twenty years. She has extensive experience in project management and community development. By setting up the Tchukudu Women’s Training Centre, she extended the Tchukudu Family to include a wonderful group of women who now receive valuable vocational training. Please read more about Cathy and her work at