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A Trustee in the Spotlight: Elizabeth Harcourt's Dedication to Karunai Illam
Karunai Illam Trust
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A Trustee in the Spotlight: Elizabeth Harcourt's Dedication to Karunai Illam

A Trustee in the Spotlight: Elizabeth Harcourt's Dedication to Karunai Illam For the last few years, Elizabeth Harcourt has been a trustee for the Karunai Illam Trust, but her connection with the Illam goes back over 20 years when she became a regular contributor along with her faith group. Mostly Christian friends, “The Group” as it is known to its members, meets every month for prayer and a shared meal. After they began supporting the Illam in 2001, founder Jean Watson also joined the Group and was a regular presence until she died in 2014.

Jean’s faith that much could be done if we only got on and did it was what inspired Elizabeth to get involved and support the Illam. She recalls the banana story that Jean told, Karunai Illam, The Story of an Orphanage in India: “[if someone] was able to give one banana to the children each day, that would help.”

Elizabeth now contributes in other ways too. She loves the food that is served at the Illam fundraising dinners, so the Trustees collected the recipes and she asked her sister Harriet, a professional photographer and food stylist, and Betty Davis (an Illam supporter) to help produce a recipe book with the meals that are served at the dinners and at the Illam. The recipe book will be launched on June 25th 2024 so keep an eye out for publicity. Aside from printing costs, everyone is donating their time so the proceeds will go straight to the Illam.

Elizabeth is an artist who has exhibits of her paintings in various galleries around Wellington, and at her studio in Karori. She donates a portion of the proceeds from her artwork sales to the Illam.

This year the Illam is celebrating Jean’s legacy, 10 years after she died. When asked whether she feels confident about the future of the Illam, without Jean here to continue the work, Elizabeth says “Yes I have confidence in the Illam’s future, because the Trustees are so knowledgeable and committed. And Jean had this faith that everything would work out and her faith was so complete that you just thought, well, she must be right. It will work out.”

Photo: Elizabeth cooking Muthias from “Suvai: Recipes from our Illam Kitchen"


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