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Central Alberta charity marking Canada’s 150th with Community Compassion
Published Thursday, January 5, 2017 6:58PM MST
Last Updated Thursday, January 5, 2017 7:16PM MST
A Lacombe-based charity hopes its latest project will spread nationwide for Canada's 150th birthday.
"We can truly go back to the roots of Canada, which is known for kindness, compassion and helping people," says A Better World Canada co-founder Eric Rajah.
The organization has completed more than 70 humanitarian projects in 14 countries since starting in 1990. Rajah says he and a friend pooled together $5,000 and started the grassroots company in Lacombe, to encourage others to give back by doing random acts of kindness.
A Better World helps people in countries such as Afghanistan or Kenya. Their projects include building schools, providing health care, clean water, as well as agricultural or income generating investments. Something staff say people often take for granted.
Project manager Rick Wiebe has been contributing to A Better World for over ten years. First as a donor, and now he oversees projects and buildings mostly in Kenya.
Wiebe is hoping Canadians pitch in, as individuals, groups or even businesses to do one compassionate thing each month until the end of the year.
"When you invest your life in these people's lives, in these third world countries, you can truly, truly appreciate what you have here in Canada," explains Wiebe.
Local families are also assisted by the non-profit. They choose one central Alberta family struggling with medical challenges each year, then renovates and retrofit their home.
It's called the Neighbours Project, and they're hoping the mentality of helping your neighbour will spread nationwide throughout the year.
Longtime volunteer and now coordinator Ronda Ziakris says: "The idea that each one of us are so blessed in our own unique ways, but also the blessing it is to reach out to somebody else and If that's your neighbour...even better."
Rajah says his work of giving back has been inspired by compassionate Canadians, and this is his way of giving back to our country.
"Our life was changed by a few Canadians when they travelled overseas where I grew up in Sri Lanka, and gave my mother a chance to get out of poverty by investing in her education."
A Better World Canada has raised more than $28 million to date.