The Red Rubber Ball Foundation
Unlocking Potential In Africa
In 2010 I set up The Red Rubber Ball Foundation, a UK registered charity. Founded on my firm belief that ‘anything is possible if you put your mind to it’ the initial aim was to establish education projects primarily in Kenya.
I am passionate about providing opportunities for people to flourish. Our activities in Africa are entirely voluntary and my personal commitment is to donate 5% of my business income (and a greater % of my time) which ensures that all fundraising, governance, and other admin costs are covered in full – meaning we can guarantee that all donations go 100% to the projects intended.
We were delighted that Grandma Sarah Obama (former President Obama’s grandmother) gave our work her seal of approval and personal blessing by becoming our first Patron.
We also have the support of Oscar nominated British actress Naomie Harris, (Moonlight, Spectre and Skyfall, Long Walk to Freedom). Naomie sent a personal message to the children we sponsor, about her time in Kenya, her own ambitions and on making these happen. Our other Patron is Jane Obinchu, head teacher to the world’s oldest primary school pupil Kimane Maruge and who was portrayed by Naomie Harris in the film The First Grader.
Starting as a personal commitment to support one young boy (John), this has developed into our biggest programme, now supporting 148 children through secondary school.
All come from poor families who are unable to cover their school fees. Many are orphans or the first children in their family to complete secondary school.
55 have now completed all four years at secondary school; three have graduated, 25 are at university, 6 more are at studying at nursery and teacher training colleges; others are in work.
The scholarships are very personal – we find sponsors, who are made aware of the child they sponsor and each child knows who their sponsor is. Many now correspond (especially those sponsors with young families themselves) and follow their progress from the school reports we obtain and send out each term.
An educational farm, near Lake Victoria
We’ve invested over £20,000 into the farm, taking it from scrub land into a fully working small farm.
The farm is a model for local villagers, helping them improve their farming techniques and providing a regular supply of plants and seeds to help them get established, so that they can generate income from their own plots.
The farm now produces regular crops – maize is sold at the local market to generate income and also given to the nearby Ebubala Primary School as part of a feeding programme for the children.
Our bore hole supplies water for the nearby village, significantly reducing the distance villagers need to travel for clean water.
The farm has also become home to two young orphan boys who have been “adopted” by Wycliffe our project manager. And we’ve created a study room so local children can meet after school to do their homework.
Kibera Cycling Club
Life in the slums of Kibera is tough by anyone’s standards. There is little income, few activities, and many temptations – drugs, glue, gangs, crime, prostitution… So in 2017 we teamed up with Kinjah, the mentor of Tour de France winner Chris Froome, and the Raila Education Center to establish the very first Kibera Cycling Club – giving kids something constructive to do. They’re able to learn to ride, cycle for fun, learn bike maintenance, compete, and hang out at our base (a safe haven) with clean, healthy mentors and learn valuable life skills.
What else have we done in the past 7 years?
- We set up a Football Academy which became self financing in 2015 with over 600 children participating.
- Run a workshop in Nairobi for 62 of our sponsored students in 2014 and 20 other community leaders.
- Climbed Mt Kilimanjaro with 15 volunteers from the UK and France raising funds for 15 of our Kenyan students to climb with us.
We’re trying to give these kids a strong foundation in life. We’re looking for more individuals, families, businesses, and other organisations that will put their hands up to help us with funds, kit, and expertise so we can give more opportunities for children to escape poverty.