The mission of the Rutu Foundation is to make mother tongue education the norm, rather than the exception.
By this we do not mean that children should be offered education in their mother tongues only. We believe that in today’s globalized world, all children benefit from a multilingual education that offers them an opportunity to become fluent in their mother tongues as well as in the official language of the state, and in one or more foreign languages, allowing them to pursue higher education, to communicate easily in more than one language, through different media and to contribute meaningfully to society.
Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the best way to achieve this is by educating children in and through their mother tongues, alongside a second and/or third language.
Ultimately, mother tongue education is about creating a level playing field, about creating equal opportunities for all, regardless of economic status, ethnic background or geographic location.
This is recognized by the Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides that all children have an equal right to an education that respects their cultural identity including their languages (art. 29).
Our work supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
“Since SDG4 is so foundational to the other Sustainable Development Goals, without mother tongue-based multilingual education the other 16 goals will remain unachievable.” (UNESCO 2017)
Language Friendly School
The Language Friendly School is our global network of schools welcoming and valuing all languages spoken by their students. With the Language Friendly School we envision a world in which:
- All children have access to a language friendly-learning environment where they feel accepted and valued for who they are.
- No child is punished for speaking his or her mother tongues in school by 2030, the deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our new Indigenous-Led Education (ILED) programme is specifically aimed at one of the most vulnerable groups in the world: indigenous youth. With ILED we want to offer space and visibility to education initiatives that are managed and controlled by indigenous peoples themselves. These are grassroots initiatives that uphold, preserve and pass on knowledge, language, customary laws and practices, and connection to land to new generations. These programmes are often highly innovative and effective, providing a much needed alternative or addition to mainstream education. Yet they rarely receive the support and the recognition they deserve.