Red Nose Foundation: Transcending Boundaries through Play

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Red Nose Foundation: Transcending Boundaries through Play: Helping Children Build Dreams

Jakarta, IndonesiaHouston, United States
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Outreach program that offers tutoring, mentoring and scholarships while also building self-confidence & empathy through arts exploration

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the success of education was measured by a child's ability to emote happiness and kindness towards others?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Indonesia’s slum communities are distraught with poor standards of education and no mandates championing the basic human rights of children, namely the right to a good, fair and balanced education. Up to twenty percent of the children in these slums do not complete elementary school, nearly fifty percent do not complete middle school, and only around fifteen percent of these children are given the opportunity to attend high school.(based on informal research in Red Nose communities) Poor education fosters ignorance, in turn supporting the lack of understanding for others and hindering the development of an empathetic society.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Red Nose Foundation (RNF) provides children with a place to learn and play together, no matter one’s race, religion or economic standing. Through the structured study of physical arts (circus), the children learn that a success is celebrated as a team, and a failure is to be challenged together. They learn through experience that each others differences are indeed what makes us a dynamic and exciting community. These lessons, along with self-esteem, perseverance and basic learning skills are taken to the next level, when RNF introduces its educational support program. RNF works with the students, parents and their schools to help the children succeed within their traditional education. Support includes monthly monitoring, weekly tutoring, problem management and full payment of school tuition and fees.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Red Nose Foundation uses a three-step model to support the development of empathy in our students and to teach them skills to build and reach their dreams. The first stage is pure arts exploration. During the first year of the children’s education with RNF, the children learn many different styles of art including; circus, theater, dance, music and visual arts. During this stage, RNF focuses on teaching the children how to appreciate and support each other for their strengths and weaknesses. The second stage (year), the children add informal education lessons (English, math, basic literacy and homework help) to their schedules. These classes reinforce the 'learning skills' taught in the arts classes, as well as prepare them to succeed in their traditional schooling. Now that the children our equipped with the social and learning skills needed to succeed, they enter the third and final stage of our program. RNF takes responsibility for the children’s educational expenses as well as assists them with planning their futures (career planning). It is during this third stage where we teach the children that they must take their own future into their own hands and that their success is solely dependent on their own hard work.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 2008, classes in North Jakarta had to be separated by gender. Not because of cultural taboos, but because the girls refused to participate if the boys were in the room. In 2014, there is no such thing as segregated classes at Red Nose. Boys and girls support each other in their educational journey and become the best of friends because of their shared experiences. As a result of learning through playing, Red Nose children become critical and empathetic thinkers. They understand that people come from different walks of life, but all people learn to do back flips by jumping in the air and pulling their feet over their heads. The children become creative problem solvers by developing clown acts, in which circumstances are exaggerated, but a problem is presented and they must find a unique (and sometimes even funny) way to move through each moment on stage, comically overcoming obstacles.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Red Nose is currently developing a standardized curriculum that can be taught to national school teachers, thus offering systematic change on an exponential scale. With proper funding and adequate training, we believe that our philosophy of building empathy through and strengthening education with Play will successfully spread throughout the slum community's school system, allowing children currently trapped in the cycle of poverty because of an inept education system, to break free and achieve their dreams. Curriculum being developed includes: Circus w/ English, Math w/ Music & Science w/ Art

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

RNF's financial sustainability plan is categorized by four different fund raising efforts. a) Individual Donors (35%); educational scholarships, sponsor a child, and general donation solicitation, b) Corporate donors(40%), c)Annual fundraising events(25%); RNF hold's many popular fundraising events featuring popular local and international comedians, musicians and celebrities. These statistics are from 2013.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

At Red Nose Foundation, we strive to include as many initiatives for the enrichment of children’s lives. We often have health/sanitation groups, pro-bono doctors, musicians, and college groups join us to teach special workshops or administer medicine/aid to the children. The biggest challenge that we face is the reality that every child will not be able to finish our program. The sad fact is that the “less traditionally intelligent” children are usually pulled from school by their parents and sent to work before finishing middle school. We work to counter these instances with continuous communications between the parents, schools and the children.


The RNF team is comprised of 14 full time and 2 part time staff members. RNF has an 11 member board of directors, that meets monthly to oversee and approve specific areas of the foundation's activities. RNF has three departments; field staff, education and arts instructors, and administration staff. There is also a three level employee hierarchy (officers, managers and directors) in order to streamline decision making and ensure optimal output.
About You
Red Nose Foundation
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Red Nose Foundation

Organization Country

, TX, Houston, Cooke County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, JK, Jakarta

Your role in Education

Administrator, After-School Provider, Coach, Counselor, Teacher.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Outreach program that offers tutoring, mentoring and scholarships while also building self-confidence & empathy through arts exploration

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

We're an education program with a foundation of arts, creating opportunities for all children to succeed, no matter their differences

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Red Nose Foundation currently works several times weekly with 121 children in two slum villages within Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta. Of these 121 children, 48 of them are sponsored with full scholarships for their traditional education tuition and fees of which over 50% of these children were re-enrolled or stopped from withdrawing from school because of our support. Only 12% of our students have dropped out of school indefinitely.

Before RNF’s programming developed, students didn’t have dreams or aspirations for their futures. If asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, they’d answer, “a fisherman like my father” or “a housewife like my mother”. When you ask RNF students today what they’d like to be, they excited spout of dreams of becoming doctors, engineers, teachers, mechanics, flight attendants, runway models and even circus performers!

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Over the next 1-3 years, Red Nose Foundation plans to strengthen its core curriculum and organizational structure, in order to continue supporting as many children as possible. RNF opens registration for new students in both villages once a year and accepts as many students as our facilities and staff can support. As the organization continues to grow and reach more children, we continue developing programs based on needs assessments and feedback from our communities. Within the next 1-3 years, RNF plans to build the North Jakarta Community Center for Children, which will accommodate at least 300 children per week. The community center will be a safe place for all children to learn, play and develop themselves personally and socially to prepare for their futures.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

RNF’s biggest challenge is overcoming the lack of understanding as to the importance of education for all children. This challenge is accompanied and often amplified by an inadequate education system and under qualified educators in the slum communities.

RNF plans to overcome these challenges by pioneering the rehabilitation of the slum schools while also educating the parents and communities to the importance of their child’s education. RNF is developing an education advocacy event (Hidung Merah's 1st International Festival of Laughs) to raise support and funds to implement education initiatives in the public school system (teacher-training workshops, school renovations, after-school programming and free lunch programs at poor schools).

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

RNF plans to add three more groups of children (20) to its community as well as build larger learning spaces in both villages.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Hire three new staff members (Education/Curriculum Specialist and two Field Teachers) to increase capacity for more students.

Task 2

Strengthen and grow relationships with local government and education officials to ensure the continued support from ‘the top’.

Task 3

Continue to develop and secure a sustainable fiscal structure, in order to support the organizations capacity growing needs.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

In 12-months, RNF would like to identify a third community (year one-40 students) to share our Arts and Education outreach with.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Maintain a retention rate of less than 25% for all classes from students who've been involved with RNF over two years.

Task 2

Maintain a scholarship retention rate of less than 5% for all students receiving financial support for their traditional schools

Task 3

Earn widespread support from the Indonesian (Jakarta) community as a whole in regards to reputation and past outreach efforts

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

In mid 2009, a student in tears approached founder and executive director Dan Roberts. The young girl’s name was Ayu Ashari and she was in tears because that day would be her last at ‘the circus.’ Ayu (13), who joined RNF when it first arrived at her village, was being sent home to her rural island to be married to a wealthy man, because her grades from elementary school were not good enough to be accepted into the free middle school and her family couldn’t afford the tuition to the private school. After many hours of discussion, Dan was able to convince her mother to allow her to stay in Jakarta, so long as she went to school (at the private school) which Dan promised to find a sponsor to pay for. Ayu became the hardest working student Dan had ever met, studying before and after school. 3 years later, Ayu is graduating middle school, the student with the 3rd highest marks, and now has dreams of continuing her education through university. Her family fully supports these dreams.

Tell us about your partnerships

RNF currently has three “Platinum Partners”. These partners support RNF programs not only with a yearly financial commitment, but also with organizational assistance, volunteerism, Board of Directors participation and networking support. Aside from our Platinum Partners, RNF also has many partners who support our programs with pro-bono services (lawyers, accountants, event venues, community support, tour scheduling, and small amounts of financial support).

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

RNF currently consists of two directors (executive and managing), two managers (field and operational), three officers (field and logistics) and a rotating schedule of two international volunteers (two months for each volunteer). RNF plans to hire another manager (education specialist) and three more officers (two teachers and one sponsorship develop). The addition of these four staff members will ensure the capacity to reach our milestones organizationally, program-wise and financially.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

RNF is also ready to learn and grow beyond our current capabilities and greatly appreciates mentorship from others who’ve learned the lessons we’re struggling with.
RNF receives a considerable amount of media exposure in Indonesia and is more than happy to make introductions for other organizations hoping to expose their great causes too. RNF is also excited to listen and share innovations.