HEART OF GOLD: Alison Ray (back left) can’t hold back the tears when a group of students serenade her before saying goodbye on her last visit.
HEART OF GOLD: Alison Ray (back left) can’t hold back the tears when a group of students serenade her before saying goodbye on her last visit. Contributed

Rejoice for Our Rainbow House

NO PLACE feels quite like home to Alison Ray as the small village outside of Lusaka, Zambia.

A vast cry from her Emerald homestead, Alison journeys twice a year to the village she first visited in 2002 and later founded Our Rainbow House - a school offering education for 50 of the neediest children in the village.

With the Emerald-based charity's fourth anniversary approaching in May, Alison said she was overjoyed it had sustained wonderful support over the years.

"Our newsletter editor was telling me that education for Children from The Endeavour Foundation (formerly called the Queensland Sub-Normal Children's' Association), commenced in the form of a little school for 10 on the front veranda of her Aunty Girlie's home, as her child was not accepted into the State School system in those days," Alison said.

"Great things can come from humble beginnings and I feel if we keep striving as we have been, we will achieve a good quality of education for those who would not normally have this privilege in this part of the world."

A beneficiary group makes and donates a shirt for each of the 50 Our Rainbow House students.
A beneficiary group makes and donates a shirt for each of the 50 Our Rainbow House students.

Feeling "blessed" by community support, Alison said donations of items like uniforms and musical instruments had made an incredible difference.

The school's staff have remained the same since the school's inception, and through sponsorship, the four teachers, project supervisor and cook are able to continue to support the students.

Students rejoice over a donation of undies from student sponsors Graham and Lisa Ford of Capella.
Students rejoice over a donation of undies from student sponsors Graham and Lisa Ford of Capella.

"The people in our community are great and with the downturn in the economy this year, I thought we might have a lot of students not sponsored, but they are all sponsored again," Alison said.

The next major step for Our Rainbow House will be to secure Deductible Gift Recipient status. An application for membership with the Australian Council for International Development was lodged last week.

A host of fundraisers has already been organised for the year.

Alison said that there would not be a school in Zambia without the incredible support and expertise of the board, management team and their wonderful sponsors.


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