Jul 20, 2021
Ashley Holmer
The Red Sweater Project

Ashley Holmer
Founding Executive Director, Red Sweater Project
CEO, Red Rhino Tours
Red Sweater Project is a non-profit organization that collaborates 
with developing communities in rural Tanzania to create 
affordable, accessible, and innovative opportunities for secondary 
education where it currently doesn’t exist for the majority of 
Providing world-class tours to East Africa’s vast renowned wildlife 
destinations, Red Rhino Tours, LLC operates to provide visitors 
with both a unique view into life in rural Tanzania and as a 
sustainable solution in support of the organization’s mission.
Despite recent economic growth in Tanzania, the country remains economically depressed as rural areas 
continue to suffer from a lack of access to sustainable income-generating opportunities. Only a small 
fraction of families are able to afford to send their children to public secondary school (U.S. middle and 
high school equivalent), with private school out of reach for all but the wealthiest families. Partnering 
with local leaders, Red Sweater Project adopts a holistic approach to addressing the diverse needs of atrisk children. In 2012, Red Sweater Project broke ground in Mungere Village on the community's first 
secondary school, which has grown in a few short years to support more than 200 students and families.
The school offers basic health services with health-based education, access to safe water and sanitation, 
sustainably-designed infrastructure and an organic school garden.
Founded by Ashley Holmer in 2011, the organization and investing safari tour company have become a 
model for other international development programs seeking to create partnerships that honor 
tradition and local leadership, encourage sustainability, and recognize education as a crucial step in 
interrupting the cycle of generational poverty. Having lived and worked in Africa since 2005 and fluent in 
Swahili, Holmer speaks about life in the land of Serengeti, education in the developing world, the rights 
of women and girls, and how tribes like the vibrant Maasai and its staunch traditions are heading toward 
an unknown future.
Ms. Holmer holds a BA in Psychology and Early Child Development from Willamette University. She is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Citation and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for Women’s Soccer. Ashley has been featured on Voice of America, Zero to Travel, has garnered the support of the Portland Timbers Football Club of Major League Soccer (MLS), and has been featured in The Rotary Magazine