Ranji Chara grew up in Sri Lanka. She explains,
"My husband, Nage, who is a medical doctor and I came with our two children to Zambia in 1982 on a contract. We planned to return back after 3 years but God had other plans for us. I taught in Sunday School in the many towns to which my husband was transferred." Ranji is one of the most inspirational people we have ever met.
Between 1996 - 2001 Ranji felt strongly led to go to Livingstone in Zambia from Botswana to give help to street children and orphans. With nothing but a carload of belongings, they set off in faith.
In Ranji's first leaflet, she describes Ebenezer Child Care Trust as "a home for the destitute and vulnerable children which was founded on 17th March 2001 by Mrs. Ranji Chara and Mrs. Kerstin Isaksson-Carlsson. This started as a feeding programme for street children. As funds came in, the children were housed."
Ranji's husband and their daughter, Jeevani, supported Ranji in this work from the beginning. Nage attended the children when they were ill, and Jeevani was Ebenezer's accountant and also a Board member when the work was registered as a Zambian Charity. She continued to work with Ranji until her marriage to Pradeep in 2007.
Kerstin Isaksson-Carlsson lives in Sennan, Sweden.
She met Ranji in 1994 in Botswana and in January 2001 they started talking about a children's work in Zambia. She says,
" It was at that time I felt a strong calling to be a partner in the work in Zambia and to start from my own address book to write letters to raise funds. In February, Pastor Mweemba and Ranji contacted me about the work."
The "birth" day of Ebenezer was 17th March 2001.
Kerstin, together with the Swedish Board, gained funding for three boys’ homes from individuals and churches that also paid salaries, and they funded an office as well. They got the Swedish organisation “Children's Samaritan” to fund the girls’ home and later on the office. For some years the organisation “The Erik Help” paid the running costs for the boys’ homes and salaries.
Ebenezer Friends UK and Sweden
Ebenezer Friends Australia
Keith and I first met Ranji for only 20 minutes in March 2005 at the end of our first trip to Southern Africa. At that time there were 4 children's homes where the children also had their lessons.
Ranji discussed with us the plan to help more orphans in a large building which could be used for a school. Up to this point, everything was rented. Keith was keen to buy this building and put up a third of the money as did the Swedish Board. The rest was held on mortgage and paid off at the end of the year.
In June 2005, we returned to Livingstone to see the Ebenezer School opened. This is when we met Kerstin and a lovely group of youngsters from Sweden. The following year, we visited Kerstin in her home and met the Swedish Board who faithfully support the work of the school.
Richard and Lenore Burton
Friends of Ebenezer Australia is a community-based group located in Maleny, Queensland, Australia. The group's fund-raising activities on behalf of the Ebenezer Child-Care Trust in Livingsone, Zambia were started by Lenore Burton, who, with Dawn Sebbens, started making and selling greeting cards in 2005.
Lenore knew of the activities of ECCT because its director, Ranji Chara, was a personal friend of hers. Ranji and Lenore had met during the 1990's, when they were both resident in Gaborone, Botswana. Lenore, and her husband Richard, lived in Gaborone for 41/2 years and Ranji, and her husband Dr Nage Chara, were there for 7 years.
Since those early days, Friends of Ebenezer, Australia, have grown to be a major provider for Ebenezer in many areas. See links worldwide on our contact page.
Livingstone Town is 15 minutes from one of the most beautiful places in the world - Victoria Falls on the River Zambezi. People come from all over the world to visit this natual wonder. Some of them also care about what is happening to the children who live nearby and whose lives were wrecked by the Aids pandemic. Every gift makes a difference and helps to turn the lives of these children around.
Ebenezer Folk who are Fellow-Workers
At Ebenezer Primary School:-
Swagota Baroi is the Head Teacher of Ebenezer Child Care Trust Primary School. She lives on the Nakatindi site with two of her three children, Benjamin and Karen. Her eldest son, Samuel studies in Lusaka.
.......... and this is Hamutinta who is the Deputy Head Teacher.
Teachers - Thomas and Curity with the wonderful Ebenezer School Choir
Andrew - Ranji's lovely driver, taking the babies and housemothers back home
Shaz - a housemother with Jacob