Going beyond the ordinary on vacation by giving back to the destinations we visit is a hugely rewarding experience. It allows us to gain a broader understanding of the cultures and communities at the heart of the countries we know and love. By engaging with one of our handpicked philanthropic experiences, you can gain an incredible insight into the vital work of charities and NGOs across the globe. Working tirelessly in the name of conservation, education and enterprise, these organizations are committed to making a real difference to the lives and livelihoods of local people. The opportunity to roll up your sleeves and support the continuation of these incredible initiatives is bound to be an unforgettable addition to any itinerary.
From meeting coffee farmers in Guatemala, to monitoring endangered rhino in South Africa, this unique selection of charitable experiences enables you to contribute in a positive and sustainable way to the conservation and humanitarian efforts taking place worldwide.
ME to WE Lodge: Araveli, India
Completely immerse yourself in the real Rajasthan on a three night stay at ME to WE: Araveli for the chance to give back to the local community and support the work of WE Charity first hand. From the moment you arrive, you will be welcomed into life in the Araveli Hills, learning about the work of the charity and getting to grips with basic Hindi phrases before spending time with the people that WE Charity supports. Throughout your stay you will meet local women, school children and farmers for a unique and authentic way to gain an understanding of the issues facing the people of rural Rajasthan.
Meet a Landmine Expert - Cambodia
Get closer to understanding Cambodia's chequered past by learning about the impact of landmines on the country in recent years. With landmine expert Stéphane De Greef, you will learn about the charities striving to support, educate and protect Cambodians whilst working tirelessly towards the eradication of landmines. The experience also includes a visit to Siem Reap’s Landmine Museum, to learn about the ongoing dangers of landmines, their impact and their largely undocumented place in history.
Salaam Baalak walk - India
Experience Delhi on a city walk like no other. Organised by the Salaam Baalak Trust, a foundation supporting children growing up and working on the streets, this initiative works to empower young people by training them as tour guides. The former street children have the opportunity to improve their communication skills and show visitors a side of Delhi which is rarely revealed. The guided tour passes through central Delhi, giving an insight into the lives of Delhi's street children whilst supporting the fundamental work of the foundation.
Fair Trade Coffee Tour - Guatemala
Accompanied by an expert guide from the De la Gente charity, a foundation dedicated to generating economic opportunity for coffee farmers in Guatemala, you can go behind the scenes at a Fair Trade coffee plantation. See how the work of the charity is making an incredible difference to the lives of independent coffee farmers, by meeting the communities who have benefited from it. This is an eye-opening experience, designed to educate about the origins of our coffee and its sustainability, guaranteeing that you will come home with a different perspective of your morning brew.
Rhino Conservation Safari - South Africa
The preservation of rhino is hailed a feat of conservation, yet much work is still needed to ensure the survival of these magnificent animals in South Africa. With expert supervision you can partake in rhino monitoring, learn about their conservation and enjoy the excitement of rhino tracking for an insight into the ongoing conservation efforts underway to protect these incredible animals from the threats of poaching and disease.
Visit the Sumba Foundation - Indonesia
The Sumba Foundation is committed to tackling poverty on the island by supporting village-based projects. Nihiwatu aims to provide humanitarian aid by improving access to healthcare, education, water and employment in order to protect the inhabitants of Sumba. Spend time learning about the ongoing work taking place across the island or even volunteering to support the initiatives underway is a fantastic way to give back to the communities on this remote Indonesian island.
Turtle Release Experience - Mexico
Support the release of baby turtles back into the wild, and get involved with the conservation efforts underway to protect sea turtles in Mexico’s Los Cabos. Turtle season on the Baja peninsula runs from late August until early December when the turtles lay their eggs on the sand. This is an educational experience with a difference, as you can learn about the work of the charity whilst also witnessing the release of turtles into the ocean, watching as they make their momentous first moves in the water.
The Giraffe Centre - Kenya
With a definitive focus on rescuing the endangered Rothschild giraffes, the Giraffe Center’s work is crucial to guaranteeing the survival of the species whilst also educating local people and visitors about their natural habitats and the ecosystems that these animals rely on to survive. By educating Kenya's youth, the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife hopes to safeguard the species for years to come. This is an incredibly unique experience to see giraffe close up and even feed them from observation platforms.
Visit a wildlife rescue centre - Costa Rica
Spend a day volunteering at the Kids Saving the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary, learning about rainforest conservation, giving a helping hand at the center and even assisting the release of animals back into the wild. The sanctuary was founded thanks to a vision of two young children who wanted to stop their beloved rainforest from disappearing. Since its formation, it has successfully rehabilitated many animals whilst raising the profile of conservation in Costa Rica.
Baby elephant experience - Laos
Seeing these majestic creatures in the flesh is a real bucket list experience, yet learning about their welfare and significance in Laotian culture is bound to make it even more memorable. This wonderful experience allows you to spend a morning in an elephant sanctuary near to Luang Prabang, bathing, feeding and walking the elephants, encompassed by the magnificent Laotian scenery. The highlight of this experience is undoubtedly meeting a baby elephant and accompanying it through the rice paddies.
Reforestation Project - Guatemala
Gain an insight into the vital work of local Guatemalan charity, Global Visionaries, whilst getting hands on experience contributing to the projects underway. Enjoy planting season or help with the maintenance of the reforestation projects whilst spending time with the local community and learning about the protection of Guatemala's unique ecosystems. Your experience depends entirely on the season, so no two visits are the same.
Uthando Community Project Tour - South Africa
Uthando works with community development projects across a broad spectrum of sectors in South Africa. A half day tour of the ongoing projects taking place in Cape Town allows you to see first-hand the incredible work underway in the country. By meeting the inspiring people leading these initiatives, you will get a real feel for the fundamental difference the charity is making in the lives of many South Africans. From education, to healthcare and conservation; Uthando works with the people at the heart of the community.
Gorilla Habituation - Uganda
Follow in the footsteps of Dian Fossey as you trek through the wilderness of Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, learning about the magnificent mountain gorilla and observing them in their natural habitat. Gorilla habituation is deemed crucial to the survival of the species and its success has been hailed a feat of conservation. This experience is a truly unique way to contribute to the protection of this magnificent species.
Visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust - Kenya
As one of the leading conservation organizations in East Africa, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has gained a fantastic reputation thanks to its incredible work, raising and rehabilitating elephants. Visiting the organization is an unforgettable experience, allowing you to get up close with these magnificent animals and learning about their lives. Visiting during feeding time is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see orphaned elephants, and the projects underway to support their release back into the wild.
Mulberry Mongoose Workshop - Zambia
Mulberry Mongoose is a Zambian enterprise which empowers women to create handcrafted pieces inspired by the rugged beauty of South Luangwa. Visit the workshop where women create unique and ethically conscious pieces of jewelry which are then sold across the world. The profits are reinvested back into the local community, supporting businesses and families in the local region whilst contributing to the protection of Zambia's wildlife. This is a wonderful experience to add to a safari itinerary.
Books Not Bombs - Laos
This experience is an extremely insightful and rewarding way to gain an insight into the projects underway which are helping Laotian children access books, ultimately aiding their education. Beginning in the Luang Prabang Public Library, the tour then moves on to the city's Unexploded Ordnance Visitor Center, allowing guests to learn about the issue of unexploded bombs in Laos. The day finishes at Big Brother Mouse, a non-for-profit publishing project which runs reading programs for disadvantaged children, giving them the vital tools they need to learn to read.
For a unique addition to your Cambodia itinerary, this tour is the perfect option. You will visit a selection of Siem Reap’s charities, learning about the initiatives underway in the region. Your first stop will be a visit to Theam’s House, for an interesting insight into the history of the Khmer Rouge and the defiance of the Cambodian people to reignite their craft sector. This is followed by a short visit to the Angkor Hospital for Children, to understand a bit more about the invaluable work of center. The day will finish at Marum, a restaurant which has been set up to mentor street children, where you can enjoy exotic, freshly prepared cuisine in the heart of Siem Reap.
R.O.L.E Charitable Experience
Based in southern Bali, R.O.L.E is an environmental organization working closely with local communities working towards alleviating poverty and promoting environmental sustainability. This experience allows you to spend time learning about the charity, interacting with students, and even gives you the chance to deliver an English lesson. Learn about their sister organization, Baliwise, which aims to empower women in the local community. A truly rewarding experience at the heart of Bali.
Arte Consciente Social Project in Salvador - Brazil
Arte Consciente is a social project that was set up in one of Salvador's poorest areas in order to support and nurture the local community through the arts. Getting involved with the incredible work of the project is a fantastic experience and the chance to meet its founders will bring you closer to the people of Salvador and the 250 children who have benefited from the initiative, learning new skills such as percussion playing and circus acts.
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