Lacombe’s Eric Rajah awarded honourary degree

Founder of A Better World continues to establish new projects worldwide

FAMILY SUPPORT - Eric Rajah stands surrounded by his sons and wife after receiving an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from Andrews University in Michigan. Rajah said he is extremely grateful to his family for standing with him and all the support they have given him in his endeavors. From left

FAMILY SUPPORT - Eric Rajah stands surrounded by his sons and wife after receiving an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from Andrews University in Michigan. Rajah said he is extremely grateful to his family for standing with him and all the support they have given him in his endeavors. From left

This past May, A Better World Founder Eric Rajah received an honourary Doctor of Laws degree from Andrews University, Michigan in recognition of his many years of humanitarian work.

In a letter to Rajah from Andrews University President Niels-Erik Andreasen, Andreasen said that Rajah was nominated by the selection committee who, “Carefully considered (his) lifelong, exemplary and admirable commitment to the betterment of life for many disadvantaged children and young people around the world.”

In his letter, Andreasen also informed Rajah that the university commonly confers such honourary degrees during its graduation celebrations so that recipients of the honourary degrees can be held up as examples to the graduating students.

Rajah said it was surprising to learn of receiving the award, particularly because he did not have any real strong connection to the university.

In addition to receiving the award, Rajah was asked to be a commencement speaker for two of Andrews University’s three graduation ceremonies, which Rajah said was quite touching.

“That was a very special honour,” Rajah said. He added that he also appreciated the opportunity to speak with a young audience, that he might share his passion with them. “It was a double honour in a sense.”

However, Rajah’s surprises were not to end with the nomination and subsequent receipt of the honourary degree.

This past weekend, on June 22nd, friends and colleagues of Rajah’s planned a surprise party in Lacombe to celebrate the achievement.

Rajah said he was surprised not only by the party, but by the number of people who showed up to celebrate with him and show their support by donating to a project set up, unbeknownst to him, in his name.

“I was very surprised by the number of people and the generosity of the people to make this thing happen and it made me feel very special.”

The project set up in Rajah’s name is building a new kitchen and dining room at Male Secondary School.

Rajah said that the A Better World organization already has a number of projects going on in the Kenyan community of Male (pronounced Ma-lay), which is near Mt. Kenya.

The price tag assigned to the kitchen and dining room project was $45,000 but as of June 23rd, $58,000 had already been raised.

Rajah said the excess funds will be used to furnish and equip the dining room and kitchen.

This project will be the first organized by A Better World to have Rajah’s name directly attached to it.

It is also something Rajah finds somewhat uncomfortable.

“There are so many other people who give,” said Rajah. “But it is humbling.”

Rajah did say that, while he might be slightly unnerved with having a project built in his name, it is fitting for it to be in Male, a community he has a personal connection to.

It was in Male that A Better World first began doing community projects in Kenya. Rajah added that, while he may be the one getting recognized, he is not by any means solely responsible for A Better World achieving its goals.

“This recognition may be centered on me, but it’s really a tribute to the community that has let us achieve this,” said Rajah.

“Nobody arrives alone at these milestones. These achievements I am getting are really because other people decided to stand with me.”

Other projects for the Male Secondary School include a dormitory that is currently being built, planting a vegetable garden and the addition of three classrooms that have been constructed.

Also, a water system utilized by about 3,000 people was recently installed in Male.

This week, Rajah left for a month-long trip to Kenya.

During that trip, Male will be one of his destinations on the trip and Rajah will be able to get the new kitchen and dining room project underway at the Male Secondary School.

Rajah founded A Better World approximately 24 years ago in Lacombe.

Today, they have several projects in Kenya as well as Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Peru.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read