If you had asked Rhonwyn Hagedorn several years ago if she could live without hot water, electricity or heat, her answer would’ve been a defining “no”, but that’s before she founded an organisation that changed not only her outlook to life, but also positively affected the lives of many families she’s worked with since. Project WHEE!, the brainchild of the 25-year old “half-Chinese, half-Dutch and 100% Malaysian” advocates for the sustainability of rural communities through entrepreneurial activities and youth volunteering programs. Splitting her time between Kuala Lumpur and Bario, Sarawak where they currently run youth volunteering programs, we managed to catch the social entrepreneur on an off-day to talk about her dedication to the women of Bario, her philanthropic heroes and the bigger vision.
Rhonwyn Hagedorn, 23, Founder and Managing Director
1. In brief, tell us about the work Project Whee does.
WHEE advocates for the sustainability of rural communities. We do that by facilitating entrepreneurial activities and organizing volunteering exchanges with the locals. In Bario, we currently run youth volunteering programs, ranging from eco-tourism to preservation of traditional rice farming methods. Volunteers shadow a farmer to carry out their missions and at the same time learn from the locals about a new way of life, a new language and the importance of agriculture. We also help out with the local community whenever they need us. WHEE has other project sites as well that are still in the development process.
Read other features in our Fight For The Future series to meet The People Who Are Building Homes And Transforming Lives and The Founders Of Picha Project.