The Red Road Foundation
Why does the Red Road exist?
We exist because we believe in free education in a sustainable way. Our goals include bringing environmental awareness/change, empowering children to have dreams that can impact our world and providing an avenue for higher education.
What does the Red Road Foundation do?
We run a self sustaining school within a remote neighbourhood of Kampot, one of Cambodia's most impoverished regions.
Our school operates in a small community outside of Kampot, Cambodia, helping to give free education to our local kids beyond what they can access in nearby towns. We are run primarily by our local Khmer staff, with the help of volunteers from around the world. The school is located a long way up a dust-red road, and is maintained by a Khmer family ('Bong Da and Srey Srah') who live on the school grounds. We have two employed teachers, Camaro in math and Saophi for English. The volunteers teach the extracurricular activities and we have workshops come in to run the course is on specialty subjects.
Our buildings are made from plastic trash, recycled glass bottles, and recycled car tires, all sourced locally, and have been built by volunteers who've visited with us over the years.
What are the biggest challenges facing rural Cambodia?
At the level of poverty we see in some parts of Cambodia, it's often easier for kids not to go to school at all, and to stay home to work in the rice fields. In our community specifically, one of our major challenges is environmental degradation and plastic pollution. As rubbish is left everywhere, it leeches into the soils and waterways and causes severe long term health consequences for a region that is already at risk for disease. It's also burned which results toxic fumes that the people are breathing in and are going into our ozone. One of our major focuses is on changing culture around trash - so that our kids get used to knowing what to do with their rubbish, why it's important to pick it up, and how we can be innovative with recycling.
How did the Red Road Foundation come to be?
(Rachel, founder): I studied addictions counselling and I was working in mental health in the USA. For six years I worked with adolescents, a passion of mine since I was also a youth looking for answers that would bring peace to myself.
Through the traumas in my childhood, I was inspired to do something meaningful that would help others to turn our pain into motivation to be of service. I worked six years in mental health for the US Government, and I was increasingly disheartened by the allocation of funds, the defects of the system, and the entitled attitude I was working with.
It was around then I decided to create a team that would empower others to share their gifts, talents and passions through a local centre. It was always important that we be of service to those in need and those that came to help would have the gift of giving and true self confidence in their hearts. I felt that humility and gratitude were lacking, and I hoped to create an avenue that would empower those involved to feel these emotions.
In the end, those that came to help and those that were beneficiaries of our services would mutually contribute to the quality of each other's lives. Of course there were and are many traumatic events going on in the world that also lit the fire of getting something like this started... my team and I refused to sit back and collect a pay check while there was so much suffering going on. So we founded the Red Road Foundation in Kampot in order to make a difference and have our influence be felt.
From there, it was a case of getting to Cambodia, finding the land for our school, fundraising for materials, and getting going. It's now been 4 years since we started on our first buildings.
Help back this Kampot Community
The Red Road Foundation is a registered charity in the United States, that operates entirely in Cambodia. If you're willing to back Rachel and her work with the Red Road school, your team's efforts will go into running the project monthly and helping to fund marketing and distribution of our products so that we can become self sustainable. Fill in the form via the button below to show us your business is keen to get involved with Red Road Foundation. We'll help you get all of the information you need so you can make the best decision for your CSR programme.
What will change for Cambodia if we can strengthen these rural communities?
Cambodia has been developing in leaps and bounds over the past 35 years, since the end of the devastating Khmer Rouge. It's really important that organisations like ours continue to support communities to grow in a way that fits with local culture, reinforces a value of school and education, and helps rural communities to become self sustaining.
What are you proudest of in the Red Road journey so far?
There of been many proud moments in the journey for us so far - like seeing many specific individuals come to life through the work they do with this project, transformations in both our students and our volunteers. I'd say one of the proudest moments that sticks out to me was while we were building the school. We had 25 to 30 passionate and loving individuals from all over the world living in the large one room bungalow in total harmony as we all put our efforts together to be of service. It filled my heart with joy to know that we had been the catalyst to bring these people together in order to help others. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
Anything else you want to say?
The Red Road Foundation continues to grow and evolve, and it's now taken on a life of its own as people continue to get involved and share their skills, talents and passions with our project. We're so looking forward to the journey ahead.