Team and Organisation

The Rutu Foundation was established in 2011 and focused on mother-tongue based multilingual education projects in Suriname, expanding quickly to Mexico thereafter. In 2013 we started activities in the Netherlands. Through our European partnership (AVIOR) we produce bilingual teaching materials that are freely available to schools across Europe. In 2019, the Language Friendly School was launched as a way to bring together and encourage schools around the world, to welcome and value all languages of their students.

The reports below outline our achievements.

    • Annual Report 2019 and Financial Statement 2019
    • Annual Report 2018 and Financial Statement 2018
    • Annual Report 2017 and Financial Statement 2017
    • Annual Report 2016 and Financial Statement 2016
    • Annual Report 2015 and Financial Statement 2015
    • Annual Report 2014 and Financial Statement 2014.
    • Annual Report 2013 and Financial Statement 2013.



Ellen-Rose Kambel – executive director/founder

ER 2018Dr. Ellen-Rose Kambel is co-founder of the Rutu Foundation. She holds a law degree and a PhD in social sciences. Ellen-Rose has over 20 years of experience as a trainer and consultant for international organizations, including the European Commission, the Inter-American Development Bank, UNICEF, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Rainforest Foundation-US. At Rutu she is responsible for programming, fundraising and external contacts. In 2016 she was temporarily affiliated with the University of Amsterdam as post-doctoral researcher, with a focus on translanguaging as a pedagogic strategy for multilingual classrooms. She is the (co)author of several books and articles on mother tongue and multilingual education.

“I have witnessed how destructive education systems can be for indigenous and ethnic minority children. But I have also seen different, better examples. Intercultural multilingual education gives children the tools to prepare themselves for the future, while maintaining and developing their cultural identity and the links to their family. I founded the Rutu Foundation in an effort to contribute to this process.”


Saskia Bosch – financial manager

Saskia joined the Rutu Foundation in January 2019. Before her retirement she was head of the administration department and worked as financial controller in the private sector.



Hilda Heyde – programme officer Language Friendly School

Hilda completed her master’s degree in Multilingualism at the University of Groningen. She combines her second master’s degree with working parttime for the Rutu Foundation on the Language Friendly School.


Alessia Osio – Intern

Alessia has a joint Master’s degree in development studies from the Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia (Italy), the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (Spain) and the Université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier 3 (France). She specializes in the field of indigenous peoples’ rights and multilingual education, combining her internship at the Rutu Foundation with research and teaching experiences with migrant and indigenous children.


Student Interns
For research, communication and the organisation of events, our interns are invaluable. If you are interested in an internship, are committed to delivering high quality work, don’t mind irregular hours and free lunches, send an email to

Supervisory Board

Paul Wolvekamp (Chair)

paul wPaul is Advisor with Both ENDS. He is vice chair of the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme Asia, member of the Board of Governors of RSPO (Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil), co-chair of the RSPO Dispute Settlement Facility Advisory Board and serves on the IUCN-NL Members Council.

Dr. Salim Vally

SSalim is the director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation and
an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg. He
is also the coordinator of the Education Rights Project. He has been a visiting  lecturer at the Universities of Virginia, Columbia and York. He is a visiting professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Carrie van der Kroon


Carrie obtained her Master’s in Law at the University of Utrecht, with specialization in children’s rights. She is programme coordinator at Defence for Children-ECPAT
in Leiden, the Netherlands where she coordinates child rights programmes in the global south with regards to sexual exploitation and gender. She holds several  (supervisory) board positions.

International Advisory Board

The international advisory board provides advice to the foundation to help shape its strategy, form partnerships and define programmes.

jenne de beerJenne de Beer, Philippines

Jenne is an award winning anthropologist, the founder and former
executive director of the Non-Timber Forest Product Exchange Programme for South and South East Asia. Jenne is based in Manila, The Philippines where he works as advisor of the SPNKK, an umbrella group of the indigenous Negrito peoples.

Carol BensonProf. Carol Benson, USA

Carol is an international consultant on language issues in education currently teaching at Teachers College Columbia University, USA after many years at
Stockholm University in Sweden. She has guided the development curriculum by
national professionals, trained teachers and researchers in mother tongue-based multilingual education and provided technical assistance to educational reform programs that emphasize learner-centered pedagogy and democratic participation. Her work experience spans the globe and she has published extensively.

Deena Hurwitz
Prof. Deena Hurwitz, USA

Deena is an international human rights law consultant based in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. Her work is broadly focused, including the right to education and other social and economic rights; indigenous and Afrodescendant peoples’ rights; legal literacy and empowerment; Islamic law and gender justice. She taught international human rights law clinics for over 15 years, and was professor of law and founding director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Emmanuelle Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman, Canada

Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman is Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, OISE. Previously, she has worked at the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication and at the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics, in the Netherlands. Since 2009, she has led several projects on the inclusion of minority students in education. Emmanuelle has worked as a consultant, researcher, evaluator and reviewer for several international organisations and international journals

Martha Many Grey Horses, Canada

Martha is member of the Kainai First Nation, Blackfoot Confederacy, Alberta (Canada) and a fluent speaker of the Blackfoot language. Her doctoral thesis focused on the reading performance of
American Indian children in secondary public schools in the USA. Martha was Director of the First Nations Métis and Inuit Centre, University of Lethbridge, Canada and currently works in Toronto

Carol Anne M SpreenProf. Carol Anne M. Spreen, USA

Carol Anne is Professor of Education at New York University. Her research centers on political and socio-cultural studies of educational change, particularly the influences of globalization on teaching and learning. Internationally, she has worked with many educational development and planning organizations, and assisted numerous schools,
districts and educational Ministries with various reform innovations.

 Prof. Sabine SeveriensSabine Severiens, the Netherlands

Sabine is Professor of Education at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, with a
special focus on diversity. She has devoted most of her research to diversity and inequality in education. She was managing director of the Risbo Institute
in Rotterdam, an independent research institute at the Erasmus University

Photos: Julie Sutton, Rian van Wijk, Ralph Schreinemachers, Maggie Schmeitz and from own archive.