The B&R Fund
In recognizing the importance and privilege of being welcomed wherever we go, we established the B&R Fund to give back to the people and communities we visit. Whether through educational, cultural or preservation initiatives, the B&R Fund helps protect various forms of heritage around the world and promote the health of vibrant living cultures. We are often reminded just how fortunate we are to be able to interact with cultures from all corners of the globe, and the B&R Fund was created to celebrate and support the unique communities we explore on our trips.
Global in scope, local in impact, the Fund supports innovative projects spearheaded by exceptional individuals. The projects we select strongly reflect the regions that inspire them and are built around the idea of giving something back to the local communities.
Financial support is merely the point of departure. The relationship between B&R and the grant recipients varies depending on the project. Our collaboration efforts include activities such as contributing to the trip planning process and participating in fundraising.
The Kuska School is an alternative educational initiative in Ollantaytambo, Peru, where education, community and an appreciation for Mother Nature is fostered. While monthly enrollment fees are manageable for some families, equal opportunity for education is bolstered through a community scholarship fund, which B&R helps to support. This means that families who cannot afford to send their child to the Kuska School can still enroll their children in classes alongside their peers.
As the only local education offering in rural Ollantaytambo, the school utilizes the multi-cultural environment to nurture individual creativity for local children, and the curriculum is focusing on developing each child at their own pace. Kuska School offers a multi-grade educational environment, accommodation for visiting guest teachers, and a fully organic farm.
Nimaida Noboru is the sole rice farmer and caretaker of the all-but-abandoned site at Ozuchi village. He rejoined his mother in the village he was raised in to tend to the land, and his story of loyalty and dedication is an inspiring one. Nestled in the Noto mountains, the remote village of Ozuchi is a true preservation of historic, rural Japan.
The B&R Fund supports Nimaida’s efforts and rice production practices and has included a stop at Ozuchi on the Japan Walking trip. Throughout the year, Nimaida welcomes agriculture students, volunteers, and tour groups to learn about how he helps preserve the heritage of the land. In helping Nimaida develop this visitors program, the B&R Fund both to supports Ozuchi and educates visitors on traditional Japanese farming.
BAISHA NAXI EMBROIDERY INSTITUTE
With a focus on traditionally embroidered tapestries and training for women in rural areas to become artists, the Baisha Naxi Embroidery Institute is a unique initiative in Yulong County, Yunnan Province, China. The school provides residency and embroidery lessons to women from farming families in the area, pregnant women, as well as mothers with developmentally delayed children. Once they are fully trained, they can produce tapestries from home and earn money from the sale of their work.
Baisha Naxi is partially government-assisted but not fully funded, and the B&R Fund has helped fill the gap in training and housing for students of the institute. Since full training takes many years to complete, the B&R Fund helps to subsidize the living costs for promising artists in training.
MUSIKA ETXEA – ACADEMIA MUNICIPAL DE FOLKLORE
Focused on preserving the culture of traditional arts in the Basque region, the Musika Etxea Academia Municipal de Folklore is an important organization in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The academy is dedicated to teaching traditional Basque music and dance just north of Rioja. Through concerts, as well as Agurra dancing, the school has kept this slice of Basque heritage (from instruments to attire) alive throughout the city with its performances.
The B&R Fund has helped to commission new instruments for the Academia Municipal de Folklore, and has helped to continue teaching students to perform traditional Txalaparta, Alboka and Txirula music. B&R’s travellers on the Rioja Biking trip are often treated to a private performance of traditional Basque music and dance.
Myanmar: Support for GCSF
B&R has a long history in Inlé Lake in Myanmar and one of our guides was so moved by the people of Burma that he coordinated the house building efforts with the Global Community Service Foundation. Together with the GCSF, B&R supported the construction of five homes in Inlé Lake—with enough funds reserved to build several more next season. The families living in these new homes also received other necessities such as clothing, battery-operated lights, water filters and stationery for children. For more information please visit www.globalcommunityservice.org
Ghana & Kenya: Partnership for youth literacy
In 2011 B&R created a new partnership with Worldreader to give children in the developing world access to digital books. Using e‑readers loaded with thousands of local and international e-books, Worldreader provides children with the books they want and need. B&R’s donation supplied four schools in Ghana & Kenya with 400 ruggedized e-readers with at least 100 local and international books. For more information please visit www.worldreader.org
Morocco: Supporting Education For All
B&R’s donation helped EFA build and operate schools in the High Atlas Mountains, making education accessible to girls in the nearby villages. For more information please visit www.efamorocco.org
B&R donated 10 bikes to senior students at Qhayiya High School. The students are contracted to take year-long responsibility for the bicycles. The intention is to reduce absenteeism days, teach accountability and experience the joy of having a great bike to ride.
Laos: Regional Artisan Grants
The B&R Fund has supported Big Brother Mouse, a Laos-based project that publishes books for all ages. Until now, few books were published in Laotian. Big Brother Mouse gives hands-on experience to young people as they learn new skills: writing, editing, translating, desktop publishing, business and organizing events. The B&R Fund also helped to support the creation of the book Beautiful Luang Prabang—an ongoing project supporting local writers and artists to travel through Laos to write a book about the local culture. For more information please visit www.bigbrothermouse.com