Our Story


Benwerren was born out of one woman’s story

Olive had just given birth to her 2nd child when doctors diagnosed her father with cancer.  Her husband was travelling a distance for work returning on weekends to work on the farm. She and her husband had a love for God and a heart for people. They helped those they came across, supporting women doing it tough. As she struggled with her own health issues and family challenges she asked “If I feel this way and know God, how do other women feel?”

It was in response to this question Benwerren was born.

Olive’s inspiration came from Isaiah 58:6 – 7 (GNB)

“The kind of fasting I want is this: remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.”

Mission Statement

Benwerren serves and strengthens families by supporting women and children in need. Providing practical support in the form of ‘time out’ in a peaceful environment, whilst ministering to the physical, educational, emotional and spiritual well-being of women and children.

Benwerren operates on a Christian ethos, is interdenominational in character, and supports women regardless of differing spiritual beliefs.


The Benwerren Story: A Biography Of Howard & Olive McDonald

When God called Olive and Howard McDonald to birth a women’s ministry called Benwerren, beginning in 1951, they heeded the call. While their ministry commenced in 1951, it formally became an organization thirty years later.

The Benwerren Story investigates the vision and spiritual development of its founders, tracing both the life-process and spiritual vision formation of the founders in their journey toward the birth of an effective ministry to women and children on the margins of society.

Author: Douglas K McDonald

Published: 30th July, 2022
by Douglas K McDonald


For book purchases please follow the link below:


For Ebook purchases please follow the link below:


To find out more about The Benwerren Story, listen to Eric Scattebo’s interview with Dawn Develyn and Doug McDonald on Vision Radio. Part 1 & Part 2 links below:

Part 1 – https://omny.fm/shows/the-story/dawn-develyn-doug-mcdonald-1-19-october-2023

Part 2 – https://omny.fm/shows/the-story/dawn-develyn-doug-mcdonald-2-20-october-2023