Who We Are

What Is Lalmba?

Lalmba (an African word meaning “A Place of Hope”) is a small, non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1963 that serves the poorest of the poor, refugees and orphans in East Africa.

Please take a moment to enjoy our short video on our work in Kenya. This hopefully will provide you with an idea of the type of work we do and the impact it has on the people we serve.

Our Mission Statement

Lalmba provides medical, educational and relief services to the people of Africa through self-help programs focused on teaching and training the people we serve to care for their own needs as much as possible, and providing them resources not usually available in Africa. We have a special love for orphan children whom we see, not as a burden, but as part of a brilliant future for Africa.

Who Is Lalmba

Lalmba is a non-profit, tax deductible, humanitarian organization recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3). We are incorporated in the state of Missouri, and registered and headquartered in the state of Colorado.

We are a group of individuals who believe that even though we are small, we can make a big difference in our world. We are volunteers who live and work in Africa, as well as folks in the United States who carry out administrative and support roles.


We’re pretty small by international standards. We delight in calling ourselves “One of the World’s Smallest International Relief Agencies”.

But to the people we serve, we’re the GIANT – a group of committed professionals who search out the most remote parts of Africa in which to work - places where other organizations have chosen not to work. Over the years, Lalmba has treated nearly two million patients in our hospitals and medical clinics (that’s a lot of sick people), and we presently care for hundreds of orphan children.

You’ll find us in parts of Africa that are politically not so stable, and deep in tropical rain forests where no other Westerners are working. We specialize in providing medical care to people who have no place else to turn, and to orphan children who recognize us as their family now. Our work is not easy – but it certainly is rewarding.

Who SupportS Us?

Lalmba is supported through the generosity of thousands of individuals and small businesses. Of the actual cash donations required, 94% comes from individuals, small businesses, and individual churches. Lalmba receives no government funding. Because we are a volunteer-run organization, our overhead expenses are only 13%.

Some of you are BIG contributors and we truly appreciate your generosity. Others of you are small givers, and we are just as grateful for your thoughtfulness. Together, we make a huge difference in the lives of those we touch.

A Note from the Founders, Hugh and Marty Downey

Welcome to Lalmba

We have been working in Africa for 50 years, mainly with orphan children and sick (very sick) people. We consider ourselves to be ordinary, average people who are church-goers, raised a family, and had the usual ‘bumps’ in life. We are simple folks. We don’t live in a big house or drive new cars. In Africa, we are at home living in a grass hut.

Lalmba is our ‘child’ (we have 2 biological ones also). No, we do not go to Africa with the idea of ‘saving the world’ but rather simply ‘making a difference’. And we have come to learn that we, and our colleagues, really do ‘make a difference’. Marty and I are dreamers! Yes, we see clearly the many problems which face Africa, but we also see solutions. We are hard working and have dedicated our lives to “doing the best we can to help”.

The difficulties of working in Africa pale in comparison to the blessings which we have received. We’ve learned so much! We’ve made such incredible friendships!

We’ll be the first to admit that when we started this work back in 1963, we had no idea what it would become. Marty and I had no concept of a tax-deductible organization which would grow to see 2 million patients and care for hundreds of orphan children. Had we known we probably would have been too scared to continue. But God has His own amazing ways of dealing with people like us. With His strength, we have been blessed to carry on this remarkable work.

Success has come only with a lot of hard work and determination. We are joined by some very special people who also have given part of their lives to the ideals which we so strongly believe in – doctors and nurses in Africa and domestic volunteers in the U. S. As we enter yet another year, we pause to thank God for all He has given to us. Indeed, we are so blessed.

Dreams? Yes, we had dreams. At first we had dreams of helping a few children and sick people. Over the years, our dream has become much larger. And now our dream is for the work of Lalmba to continue long after we are unable to do the physical work. The work of Lalmba is so vital to many people in our world . . . people who really have no other place to turn. It is rewarding, and still, every day is a challenge. Our lives are never boring.

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