Eric Rajah’s dream is to see a world without poverty. He is committed to tackling the root causes of poverty by investing in education, health, water, agriculture, and income generation activities.
In 1990, he co-founded A Better World Canada with a handful of like-minded-people and $5,000. Today, it has grown to working in over 15 countries and over 2,800 people have traveled to see and work at project sites.
In 2011, Eric received the Alberta Order of Excellence, the highest honour bestowed on a citizen by the province. Eric was also among the 50 Champions of Change finalists for CBC and Outpost magazine in 2010, named a Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow in 2004, and has received several other local awards. He received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Andrews University in Michigan.
Eric is an immigrant to Canada from Sri Lanka, where Canadian missionaries helped his mother get an education, allowing his family to immigrate to Canada. Through reflections on his personal experiences, Eric motivates people to identify and follow their inspirations
In addition to volunteering as A Better World’s executive director, Eric owns a business computer company, Advanced Systems, which he founded in 1986. He is married to Candi Schafer and has two adult sons, Brenden and Jaden. They make their home in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada.
He believes that everyone can make a difference in making this world a better place.
Grew up south of Rocky Mountain House in Bute, went to public school. He went to NAIT in Edmonton where he took engineering sciences then attended U of A for a year. He served as vice president for advancement for Burman University in Lacombe until his retirement.
Brian serves as the director of projects for A Better World.
- Moved to Lacombe in 1977, involved in CHSDA, went to CUC to take Bachelor of Theology
- Went to Andrews after CUC, did masters of divinity, then came back and pastored in Smoky Lake and Bonnyville – met Eric when he was looking to see if he’d make a good chaplain for Canadian Union College, transferred there in 1982
As the chaplain, he was working with the church as an associate pastor, Eric was working in the CUC finance office – they worked together on campus ministries and they were looking to do something that could impact people in developing countries – got together and decided they would try to do a project through the school, then the church as a support to start an organization and have financial and partners support and travel one day. Drew up some guidelines of what they wanted to do and accomplish, went to the board with a proposal to do one project/year with a max of $5,000 sponsored by the church. 1990. Reluctant at first, but Eric and Brian convinced them. Approved for just one project to start. Opportunity to make appeal to the church one time with only max of $5k. Went to the church, did their homework, appealed to the church, only the one chance they raised $15,000. Kendu Bay surgery project. Problem because they only said they could do one project with $5k. They removed the limits so they could just go ahead and use the funds on whatever projects. Found two more projects. Grew from there. Still make an appeal to the church once/year, and hundreds of donors now support ABW.
One of the things that has always inspired me is that we recognize we can’t make the entire world a better place, but we can change one life at a time and make a difference in one person’s life–if we can do that, we can start making a difference in a lot of people’s lives. I’m not so naive as to think we can change the entire world, we certainly can make a difference in the life of one person. We go and we can see kids who didn’t have water who now do, didn’t have food, now have food, education, medical help, etc. It’s very fulfilling to me. That’s what motivates me.
Want to hear from the founders?
Eric and Brian often share their passion by speaking at schools and youth conferences; they also frequently visit organizations, businesses, rotary clubs, as well as interested individuals to share about what A Better World is doing. If you’d like to book Eric, Brian or others to speak at your event or meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (403) 782 0325.
Please see previous speeches below. Click Here to book another speaker.
“Building a Better World”
Watch Eric speak at TEDxRedDeer
“A Proven Formula for Maximum Returns”
Watch Eric speak at TEDxLaSierra
“Trailblazers: A Better World Canada”
Watch a feature video about ABW
“Burman University Commencement Speech”
Watch Eric’s graduation address