Local volunteer to be inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence
Eric Rajah, co-founder of the Lacombe-based international charity A Better World and one of Lacombe’s distinguished sons, will add to his considerable list of accomplishments when he is inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence at a special ceremony on October 19, 2011 at Government House in Edmonton.
“When I got a phone call from the Lieutenant Governor Donald S. Ethel congratulating me on receiving the Order, I was honoured and very humbled,” said Eric.
The Alberta Order of Excellence is the highest honour that the province can bestow on an Albertan, and is in recognition of Eric’s humanitarian work in communities all over the world for past 21 years.
Born in Sri Lanka, Eric has called Lacombe home since 1978. He married local gal Candi Schafer in 1985, and together they have two children, Brendan and Jaden. The family is involved in humanitarian projects sponsored by A Better World.
“This award makes me very proud of the residents of Lacombe, who really have been the backbone of A Better World,” he said. “To think that our small community can reach beyond our boundaries and touch the lives of so many people around the world is amazing.”
According to Eric, close to 100,000 people a year in 140 communities in 15 countries benefit from the volunteer efforts of Lacombe and Central Alberta residents. The organization’s diverse groups of volunteers are dedicated to improving lives by providing education, health, food security, infrastructure, and income- generating projects.
“I am particularly encouraged by the volunteer spirit shown by young people, especially the students from Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School and Canadian University College,” said Eric. “Many students have travelled with me to Africa and Asia, and have helped build schools and worked in refugee camps and orphanages.”
The training and mentorship provided during their field trips prepare these youth to become the leaders of tomorrow.
A Better World volunteers work in not only the difficult places in the world such as Afghanistan, Sudan, India, but also in Lacombe and in Red Deer. “While it is important to help people around the world, it is important not to forget the very real needs right here at home,” he added.
This year the organization is helping the Lacombe and District Family & Community Support Services (FCSS) to assist children, adolescents and adults dealing with grief through a program called Rainbows.
Grief is the emotional, spiritual and physical suffering caused by a loss in our lives. Frequently, young people are not able to express their grief verbally, and it surfaces in their behavior, academic performance, and affects their physical and emotional well-being. A Better World is providing funding for this much-needed program.
A Better World is a secular, humanitarian organization that welcomes everyone from every walk of life, and encourages them to volunteer and contribute to the betterment of humanity.