Friends of Barefoot College is an American-based organization designed to champion the work and values of proven global solutions for the rural poor. We support Barefoot College and its solutions for the transformation of rural communities through the empowerment of women.
By applying rural wisdom and knowledge, the Barefoot Approach demystifies and decentralizes sophisticated technology for appropriate use. We support Barefoot’s belief that formal education is not required for women to bring renewable energy and entrepreneurial activities to their communities. This approach has been proven and tested for more than 45 years in more than 90 countries, touching more than 500,000 lives.
Lauren Remedios started working for Barefoot College in 2013 when she was a graduate student at the Clinton School of Public Service. After graduation she became responsible for global monitoring and evaluation for the Barefoot Solar Initiative, which operates in more than 90 countries.
She is responsible for providing thought leadership to the different departments about the progress of the initiative. She is also the director of the 501(c)3, Friends of Barefoot College International, here in the USA.
She is originally from India and is inspired by “the Barefoot Approach,” which empowers women as change agents in the fight against poverty reduction.
David Van de Wiel
Founder of Van de Wiel International in 1981, Manufacturer's Agents, representing Original Equipment suppliers in the European and Global Automotive industry.
Specialised marketing focus on new technology related to emissions, weight and fuel saving components. Primary examples being Electric Cooling Fan modules, blow moulded Plastic Fuel Tanks, specialised injection moulding, Vehicle Electronics and Position and Temperature Sensors. Recent investor and Director of high technology gas sensing company specialising in VOC detection and Hydrogen Sensors.
Since the sale of his company in 2014, the focus has been on opportunities in sustainable, renewable, weight saving and solar industries and bringing automotive based strategic marketing experience to these industries.
A native Californian, Emmy winner Khrystyne Haje started her career at age 14 as a fashion model. Gracing covers and billboards world-wide
she quickly progressed to commercials, starring roles in Network TV movies and the role of Simone, on ABC's 5-year top 20 hit Head of the Class - now in syndication.
She was awarded the Civilian Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Defense, for entertaining U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf on the Bob Hope tour.
People Magazine named Khrystyne, one of "The 50 Most Beautiful People In The World" with a beautiful center fold that won a CLEA for beauty.
Her numerous appearances, starring roles and high recognize-ability add power to her personal message of preserving our natural resources and lifting the human spirit. As a founding board member of ECO, the Earth Communication Office, she works hard to protect our delicate ecosystems. She's presented at the White House on community involvement, publicly taken a stand with MADD, (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and contributed her time and resources to Best Buddies, which enhances the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by offering love, support and friendship.
Aurelia (Aura) Reinhardt
A veteran public relations and community affairs executive, Aura Reinhardt is the Managing Director at HillSTORY Marketing, a fully integrated and creative marketing
A veteran public relations and community affairs executive, Aura Reinhardt is the Managing Director at HillSTORY Marketing, a fully integrated and creative marketing communications agency headquartered in New York City.
Ms. Reinhardt’s career spans more than 30 years in the wine & spirits and lifestyle industries where she led the public relations department of LVMH/ Moet Hennessy USA and most recently the communications team at Bacardi USA. As a Vice President, Communications at Moet Hennessy USA, Reinhardt was responsible for leading all trade and lifestyle press initiatives as well as special events for legendary brands like Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon, Hennessy, Belvedere Vodka and more. During her tenure, she was also responsible for strategic partnerships and entertainment marketing for the brands in television and film.
In 2007, Reinhardt moved from New York to Miami to become Vice President Corporate Communications and Community Relations at Bacardi USA. Under her leadership, Bacardi USA saw significant increases in brand activity thanks to award winning PR programming for iconic brands Bacardi Rums, Grey Goose Vodka, Dewar’s Scotch and Bombay Gin to name a few. Believing in Corporate Social Responsibility, Reinhardt built partnerships in sectors such as education, health and wellbeing, culture and local government; she was instrumental in making Bacardi USA a champion of the arts and historic preservation.
A resident of Coconut Grove, Reinhardt is committed to building a culture landscape in Miami that endures and is distinctive. She accomplishes this by playing leadership roles in young arts organizations such as the Coral Gables Arts Cinema, the Wolfsonian/FIU Museum in South Beach and the Gables Community Foundation which touches all aspects of life from education to health and historic preservation. Ms. Reinhardt is tri-lingual in French/Italian/English and has two sons who live and work in New York.
"Now, more than ever, in our fast changing and modernizing world, there is such a need to focus attention on helping communities - everywhere- that are being left behind. I want to be a part of the effort by Barefoot College to empower forgotten communities to be self reliant, and gives them access to what is every persons right, clean water and light"
- Aura Reinhardt
"To me, Barefoot College represents pure good in the world...Education, renewable energy, empowerment, sustainability, and improved health, are just a few of the qualities that it brings to people's lives and communities. I absolutely want to be a part of that!"
“The simple empowerment of the poorest villages in the developing world, will do more to educate, improve health and provide a more secure future locally in the community, positively offsetting the simple migration of the poor to city slums”
- David Van de Wiel
Our funding beneficiary: Barefoot College
Barefoot College is a 45 year old not-for-profit entity registered in India. In order to create a way for USA based donors to support barefoot's missions, Friends of Barefoot College International USA, a 501c3 was created to support specific projects in Barefoot College's global expansion activities.