Our Rainbow House is an Australian and Zambian Registered Charity with focus on a community near Lusaka, Zambia. Based in Emerald, Central Queensland, with friends throughout Australia and beyond, the charity provides the opportunity for vulnerable children to attend school and gives them improved life chances.
The charity came about after the founder, Alison Ray had the pleasure of volunteering at the School of St. Jude’s, Tanzania. After this experience, Alison went to Zambia to visit her son’s sponsored child.
This journey took Alison to an impoverished compound of 55,600 people on 5 hectares. 7,800 of which were orphans and vulnerable children. When Alison arrived at the compound in Zambia, she had an epiphany, that this was where God meant for her to do some work. This feeling was strong, overwhelming and could not be denied. She knew that she had to come back when the time was right.
Alison progressed to form a committee of a small group of friends in Emerald. In 2012, with foundational funds, they opened the school for 51 orphans and vulnerable children. They employed teachers, guards and cooks. The school has progressed very well and systems and processes have been enacted to ensure the viability of the charity and create the preferred futures for Our Rainbow House.
The challenges of fundraising in Australia, for action in Zambia has been a journey. Our Rainbow House adheres to the guidelines of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), which strictly accredits the charity and its actions.
The school faces the same problems as any other school – nothing is perfect. But it is hugely rewarding to see the students who, through sadness, loss, hunger, extreme poverty or sickness still come in the school gates, smiling and thankful to have an education!
In 2016, to our delight, our first class of grade seven students all passed their national high school entrance exam. Considering the students had completed seven years of education in only four years, this was a tremendous achievement! One student had the great fortune to gain a scholarship to attend a prestigious boarding school in Lusaka. He says “I would be on the streets except for Our Rainbow House – now look at me, in a blazer, tie, long trousers and I am not being a concern for my family.” Since then many more of our students have gained places at local high schools and, through the continued support of their sponsors, are continuing their education.
A little of what a sponsored child enjoys at Our Rainbow House includes breakfast, lunch, school uniforms, books, health and pastoral care, all of which are kindly provided through the love and generous sponsors of Our Rainbow House. The charity employs a project coordinator, teachers, cooks and guards to enable the operations in Zambia. Regular volunteers to the school provide invaluable support to the charity and ensure accountability, that every cent raised is directly spent in support of the children.
Dedication and hard work by many volunteers over the years, has seen Our Rainbow House reach its potential. We are proud of the achievements and invite you to become involved, so that we can offer education to many more children in the area.