Shoe Rafiki began in 2008 as a method of connecting a group of primary school children in the UK with similarly aged children at a school in rural Kenya. Rafiki means ‘friend’ in Swahili.

An exchange programme was set up where children in the UK sent letters with their outgrown school shoes to a Kenyan child. When a child was found to fit the shoes at the Kenyan end they sent a note back. shoeThis initiative has expanded further to other schools and is used to discussed carbon footprints, the differences between other climates and the effects of global warming. St Francis Primary School in Maldon was awarded a Global School award by the British Council as a result of this initiative.

A Californian High School has used the project as a template to create a ‘rafiki’ link with a remote community in the Philippines.

2020 HOUSErainy

A one-day design event where Annabel Brown and Annikka Meier worked with 7 year olds to imagine the types of houses they may inhabit in 2020 when they leave school. The children added wind turbines, solar collectors and old jumpers as insulation.


Annabel has been working with a group at St Mary’s Maldon to create a vision for a Centre for Healing. The project has developed to include the wider community and aims to help define what it means to live in a healthy and balanced society.


This initiative received Catalyst Funding from the Royal Society of Arts in 2010. shoe As part of the RSA’s Changing Chelmsford initiative, Annabel involved 13-19 year olds in the visioning process for their town.

A blog with a simple Google Map link was shoeset up to enable young explorers to upload spaces of potential across the town. Exploration workshops and design events were held to get them involved. The project has now expanded and the Young Explorers are working with Chelmsford Borough Council to create real proposals for real sites.