Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation is a UK registered charity based in York. The charity provides travel and safety information, primarily for young travellers who are planning a gap year experience, joining a study abroad programme or embarking on independent travel.
Our story begins after Caroline Ann Stuttle and a friend decided to travel to Australia on a gap year before starting university. They were both extremely excited as they began their adventures in Sydney. In April 2002, they found themselves in Bundaberg, a small town halfway up the east coast. One evening, Caroline was walking back to where they were staying and crossed over the Burnett bridge. A man stopped her, wanting her belongings. There was a struggle and she was thrown off the bridge to her death. An unbelievable and heart-wrenching tragedy. Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation was founded by her brother Richard Stuttle and Mother Marjorie Marks-Stuttle in Caroline’s memory.
The charity focuses on educating young travellers on the potential risks in a way that is informative, yet also engaging. In 2005, we produced a short film titled ‘The Time of Your Life’ highlighting two different travel safety scenarios that could happen to someone whilst abroad. The video was used in schools and universities, and presentations have been delivered by experienced travellers to get people considering their personal safety and make sure they are equipped with essential knowledge when they go travelling.
Travel safety education, Richard and his team talks to 1000’s of students each year about travel and travel safety, offering important information and first-hand accounts of his adventures. “It’s important to understand the opportunities that are out there in the world and the risks involved.” He said. Find out more information here.
In 2012, we created the Safer Travel app for iOS and Android. The app provides vital safety and general travel information to over 350 different destinations. We designed the app to almost act as an encyclopaedia for places around the world. Planning a trip to Paris? Check the app to find out everything from emergency contact details to the best restaurants to visit in the evening.
With WIFI and internet available in most travel destinations we are currently in the process of reverifying, transferring information from the app and adding new destinations onto our website in order to make the information more accessible for travellers across the globe.
K.A.R Safety Principles
In our 19 years as a charity, we have refined the core aspects of travel safety into three main pillars: knowledge, awareness and response.
- Knowledge – Research is key, the more you know about a destination the safer you are. Before any travelling experience ask yourself questions like, if I lose my passport; what do I do? Where do I go? Who do I ask? Knowing what to do in these types of situation will ensure your stress levels remain low if something does occur.
- Awareness – No one can be fully aware all the time, it’s impossible. What we can do as travellers is ensure that you are fully aware at the right times. In busy places, on transport and at certain times of the day. Increasing your awareness in the right moments means you will be able to spot potential hazards earlier which can dramatically reduce risk.
- Response – How you respond to people in certain situations can significantly change the outcome. Understanding people’s intensions is key and means you can respond appropriately. Ultimately, if someone wants to take your belongings and threatens your life, just let them go or walk away if possible. Nothing is worth more than your life.
The Future of CRF
We have some very exciting projects in the planning, including an interactive VR experience that is designed to put people directly in various travel safety scenarios. The idea is to provide young people with first-hand experience in order to teach them how to correctly respond to different situations in an engaging, yet informative way.
Richard has also written a book about the story of Caroline and how life for him and his family was changed forever. Although the book has a tragic beginning, it is ultimately a positive story of how Caroline inspired people to understand the importance of life and live it the best way they can. Chasing Rainbows: The Stolen Future of Caroline Ann Stuttle is available to buy now here.
“As a charity we have always had an incredibly positive outlook towards travel and the benefits it can bring to people’s lives. Our motto ‘follow your dreams’ has rung true since day one. Despite the risks that may occur, we will always encourage people to go out and experience the incredible adventures the world has to offer. Although what happened to Caroline was utterly devastating, we take comfort in the fact that she had the confidence to step foot into the world and go for what she wanted. Her legacy now is to inspire others and hopefully her story will help other young travellers to seriously consider their safety every step of the way.” – Richard Stuttle