Rainbow Eco-Farm and Training Center Founders and Directors
Carolyn Bocian, Ph.D. is a primatologist, biologist and educator. With her life partner, Linda Barnes, she is a co-founder and co-director of Rainbow Eco-Farm and Training Center (REFTC), a South African non-profit based near Johannesburg. Dr. Bocian’s background includes 11 years as an animal caretaker in zoos, laboratories and sanctuaries; 5 years as a field researcher in central, western and southern Africa; and 7 years as a professor of biology and environmental science. She is a member of the IUCN-SSC* Primate Specialist Group and of the International Primate Protection League.
*International Union for the Conservation of Nature – Species Survival Commission
Linda Barnes (Master Teacher of Mathematics)
Linda was a teacher of mathematics in the Baltimore County Public School System for 33 years. She was recognized as one of Maryland’s outstanding math educators by her local supervisors as well as the Governor of Maryland. She retired from teaching in 2003 and opened a successful mathematics tutoring business in the Baltimore area.
Chris Hajec (Juris Doctor) has been associated with REFTC as a teacher and director for over 3 years. Chris has a B.A. in American Government from Clark University and a law degree from Western New England University School of Law. Having moved to South Africa from the United States, Chris has always had a keen interest in making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth. As a leading industry specialist in the South African commercial property market, Chris has put his private sector business and legal background to work in a volunteer capacity by teaching English literacy and geography to our Saturday students.
In 2004 while attending a Ministry Training School in Long Beach, California, Linda heard God’s call to Africa. To prepare for this ministry, she attended ACTS Bible School in Houston, Texas and in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2006 she was part of a ministry team to South Africa and on her second trip to South Africa in 2007 her heart was broken for the poor and abandoned children of this nation. In 2009 she and her partner, Carolyn Bocian, relocated to South Africa where they volunteered with established non-profit organizations. Now in their fifth year in this country, Linda and Carolyn have founded and direct Rainbow Eco-Farm and Training Center, a registered non-profit working with underprivileged children and youth in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces.
“We believe that all people and animals were created by God from the earth and that God placed us here to work and take care of it. After the flood God promised that the earth would never again be covered with water and placed a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His promise. We call our project Rainbow Eco- Farm & Training Center because of this promise and believe we were all made to represent God on earth, to be connected with the land and the animals, and to take care of this gift – the creation. Here in South Africa we work with impoverished teens and youth to teach them how to care for the land and all of its inhabitants. We also come to teach skills that will raise them up out of poverty and give them hope for a better future.”