Team & organisation

The Rutu Foundation for Intercultural Multilingual Education was established in 2011 as the result of a bilingual education project in indigenous communities in Suriname. In 2013 we started exploring activities in the Netherlands. A European-funded partnership (AVIOR) allowed us to produce bilingual teaching materials in six European countries. With the Language Friendly School we offer a quality label that brings together and encourages schools around the world to welcome and value all the languages of their students. There are currently over 10,000 students enrolled in a Language Friendly School. The Indigenous-Led Education Network (ILED) is our most recent collaborative partnership, aimed at supporting education initiatives that are led and managed by indigenous communities worldwide.

The Rutu Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Ellen-Rose Kambel – executive director/founder
Dr. 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.

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Hilda Heyde – Programme Officer Language Friendly School
Hilda completed a master’s degree in Multilingualism at the University of Groningen and a Master’s in European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She works part time for the Rutu Foundation as programme officer on the Language Friendly School.

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Cecilia Uitermark - Project Advisor Indigenous-Led Education Network
Cecilia has completed a master's degree in Indigenous Studies at the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. This has given her a strong background in the emergence of the international Indigenous movement, the historical experiences and contemporary context that Indigenous peoples experience across the globe. Since September 2021, she supports the work of the Indigenous-led Education Network as Project Advisor.


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 info@rutufoundation.org.

Annual Reports and Financial Statements:
  • Annual Report 2021 and Financial Statement 2021
  • Annual Report 2020 and Financial Statement 2020
  • 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.