How G Adventures Gives Back to the Community

When you are planning a trip abroad with sustainability in mind, it can sometimes be complex and hard to execute. You may think of options like a  group trip, head to a particular destination you think is more sustainable, or look for ways to make a positive impact when you arrive. Thankfully, some travel organizations, like G Adventures, take the difficulty out of preplanning and allow you to focus on how you can truly be a positive, impactful traveler.

“Changing the world through travel” has been the organization’s motto since its creation in 1990. For over 20 years, G Adventures has curated numerous bookings for individuals to revel in sustainable vacations, the local community and volunteer services that provide an enriching experience. Furthermore, G Adventures works closely with its non-profit partner – Planeterra, which aims to empower people, protect the environment, and create a ripple effect of positive impact through tourism.

From all across the globe, there are numerous vacation projects for you to pick from. The organization just introduced five new projects to the public in 2020. Be sure to check them out below to gain some destination inspiration or learn more about how you can give back to communities while traveling.

1. Dqae Qare San Lodge – D’Kar, Botswana

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The Dqae Qare San Lodge is a unique experience as it is owned and run by the San people

D’kar is a village in the Ghanzi District of Botswana. A large number of the San of Southern Africa, a marginalized group of indigenous people, resides there. They are excluded from the economy and lack social services. Moreover, they are under constant threat of their language and history being demolished by infrastructure development and lack of cultural resources. 

In the D’kar village, the Dqae Qare San Lodge is a wildlife area, lodge and campsite. It also aids in the protection of the San of Botswana. It offers full-time employment and part-time work for those who offer cultural activities and other small jobs there. Over USD $38,000 is annually paid to upkeep development projects like freshwater infrastructure and resources for preschool. Such projects are invaluable to the community, which lives in extreme poverty.

Planeterra partners with Dqae Qare San Lodge to assist them with upgrades to their site and accommodation. Funds are used to improve facilities and connect the lodge with a steady stream of travelers from G Adventures. The tourism income ensures a regular revenue for the camping grounds.

2. Reef Ecologic – Whitsundays, Australia

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The Whitsundays is just right on the corner of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

The Whitsundays Islands is made up of 74 continental islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia. People from all over travel head here to see some of world’s finest white sands beaches and barrier reefs. However, a tropical cyclone swept through the Whitsundays region in 2017, decimating terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Along with the environmental and economic impacts, the ecosystem began to collapse because of damage done to the coral reefs. The lack of coral reefs affects marine life and leads to the disappearance of fish, sharks and sea turtles.

In a collaboration with Reef Ecologic, Planeterra integrated reef restoration programs into tourism experiences in the Whitsundays. With the sponsorship of a new coral garden, Reef Ecologic secured funding for monitoring efforts for the coral garden through tourism. When booking a trip to Whitsundays, Australia, travelers engage in various materials to learn about marine rehabilitation. They also physically help in reef recovery and integrate tourism with the community.

3. Soa Zara – Ranohira, Madagascar

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Approximately 22% of Madagascar is forest

Located off the east coast of Africa, Madagascar is the world’s fifth-largest island. It has some of the world’s largest coral reef systems and mangrove areas. In addition, it is home to an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. However, Madagascar has lost 90% of its original forests because of destruction caused by humans. Deforestation is a major issue that has spurred from agriculture and fuel usage.

L’Association Soa Zara has planted over 10,000 trees, and Planeterra worked with them to create a tree planting activity for travelers staying at the ITC Lodge nearby.

Learn how trees sustain our planet in this book

Planeterra further supports the local organization’s efforts through community outreach programs. Soa Zara helps create washbasin stations and a water filtration system. As a result, they bridge the protection of the environment with economic development for the local people. Travelers stay at the nearby ITC Lodge and have hands-on experience with planting their own trees next to the Isalo National park. In addition, travelers learn about the reforestation project and discover ways their trip can support the renewal of habitats.

4. Libaran Island – Borneo, Malaysia

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At Libaran Island, the best time to watch turtles is between July and September

On the northeast coast of Sandakan in Malaysia, there is Libaran Island. There, you will find long beaches and crystal blue water. With its beautiful sunsets, it is also called the “Turtle Island”. Libaran Island has two species of turtles – Green Turtles and Hawksbill turtles. The remote island has little economic opportunity, but the importance of the island as an endangered sea turtle nesting site also ties into the local people having the ability to earn an income on their island. 

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The Planeterra Foundation provided a grant to fund the necessary training for Libaran villagers to make souvenirs from ocean plastic waste. Local plants are weaved and local snacks are cooked to create new tourism activities while having a new way to earn income. Travelers have more opportunities to learn about the community, observe traditional craftsmanship and enjoy the local cuisine. The project helps locals increase their capability to earn an income from sustainable tourism opportunities on the island.

5. Mesilou Home Stay – Borneo, Malaysia

At Mesilou Atamis Homestay, all travelers can engage in the daily traditions of the locals

The Mesilou Atamis Homestay is “The Highest & Coldest Homestay in Malaysia.” It lies at an altitude of about 1600m above the sea, and temperatures can reach 15 degrees celsius. The cold, highland area once showcased unique and traditional cultural activities to guests, but it had become a home rental service due to the demand from domestic tourism. The community’s goal to share their unique travel became difficult to do as many travelers saw the area only as a place to stay. Since then, a large disconnect between locals and travelers resulted.

From the former CEO of renowned travel guide publisher Lonely Planet, a look at how travel can transform not only the traveler, but also the world.

G Adventure’s Planeterra funds improvement to the homestay operation and created new tourism activities for tourists to enjoy real experiences. As a result, the project provides opportunities for young entrepreneurs returning to their home town and turning their family home into local accommodations. Also, the community can feel that they are able to shine again after years of not having the ability to share their culture with international guests. There, travelers can engage in fishing, farming and cooking with members of the community, while economically aiding through tourism.

~By Virtual Marketing & Communications Intern, Laura Vo. Laura’s a Public Relations Major at Kennesaw State University and has a passion for supporting great causes like Go Eat Give.

How To Rock a Baby Wombat

If you have read some of my earlier posts, you would know that I am a huge proponent of wildlife conservation. So when I had a chance to see kangaroos, wombats and Tasmanian devils up close, I was more excited than a kid!

The famous Tasmanian devil makes loud and disturbing screeching sounds

The island of Tasmania is located southeast of mainland Australia and the last landmass before Antarctica. Only half a million people live on the island, but there are a decent amount of visitors. The island is, however, abundant in wildlife. Tasmania is home to an incredible variety of animals, including four marsupial species that are now found nowhere else in the world. These are the Tasmanian devil, the eastern quoll, the Tasmanian pademelon and the shy Tasmanian bettong. There are also 12 endemic bird species in the state, some of which are among the most endangered in the world.

Located only a few minutes outside the city of Hobart is Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, a privately run and Tasmania’s largest 24/7 Wildlife Rescue Service and sanctuary where you can view many endangered native wildlife and take guided educational tours. Bonorong is not a zoo, as their animals are generally rescued, rehabilitated and released back in the wild. They also built Tasmania’s first Wildlife Hospital in 2018.

You never know what you will see at Bonorong. These are rescued animals, so most of them are not permanent visitors. Wombats, devils, quolls, native birds, koalas, lizards, snakes, kangaroos and emus – are some of the animals you are likely to encounter.

Only a professional like Randall knows how to handle a spiky echidna

During my recent visit, knowledge keeper, Randall, took me on a personal tour to meet Tasmanian devils, a wombat, and echidna. He fed the animals and told me their names and rescue stories – how a female devil was blind, an echidna who had a rare disease and the 18-month old wombat was separated from her mom. This was the only place in Australia I got to see the famous Tasmanian devils, so it was really special!

Isn’t this wombat the cutest thing you have seen?

I had seen wombats in the wild before, but here I cuddled a young female called Millie. She even went belly-up like a puppy right next to me!

The kangaroos are not afraid and will eat off your hands!

Families could walk around among kangaroos, and take as many pictures as they liked.

Bonorong offers public and private tours where you can learn about the animals, feed them, and walk around for up to 3 hours. The night tours are really interesting as many of the animals are nocturnal. All of the money raised through tickets and experiences goes towards maintaining the sanctuary.

Individuals and groups interested in wildlife rescue, animal husbandry, or manual tasks are also welcome to volunteer at Bonorong.

Dreams Become Reality in Bali

Sadly, most children we sponsor do not even have a comfortable bed to sleep in – but that has already started to change thanks to new donations for mattresses.

One of the things that is shockingly apparent when we visit families of sponsored children is their poor sleeping conditions. We’ve teamed up with Go Eat Give to donate 8 new mattresses to needy families in Bali.

When Go Eat Give visited us recently, they asked us what they could do to help give immediate comfort to the children we help. Of course, mattresses was right at the top of our priority list.

Kadek Mira Artana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all sponsorship funds going to support children’s education, it is sometimes difficult to provide things that we know families need – such as mattresses.

It’s a sad fact that the majority of children we sponsor don’t even have a suitable bed to sleep on. The families that were previously struggling with school fees simply don’t have the disposable income to afford mattresses.

Mattresses are often old, falling apart or simply thin sheets that are extremely uncomfortable.

A complete set of good quality mattresses, pillows and sheets can cost over $120 – more than most families make in a single month. It really puts it into perspective how much need there is for decent quality beds.I Putu Suandika 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Eat Give supporters clubbed together to raise $1,000 USD – which enabled us to buy 8 top quality mattresses for the most needy families on our sponsorship program.

Meanwhile, Tsarina, who recently sponsored Novianti had also asked if she could donate a new mattress to Novianti’s family. Tsarina had been to visit Novianti with our staff and had seen their sleeping conditions first hand.

double-mattress3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our team had the pleasurable job of purchasing and delivering fully equipped mattresses to the delighted families.

We were greeted with huge beaming smiles of families that were so grateful to finally have something comfortable to sleep on. The children were especially excited with the rare gift.

The families of gone from only dreaming of new mattresses, to actually having them.

We are so pleased to be able to provide additional support for families of sponsored children. But we can only do it thanks to the support of kind donors.

I Wayan Dika Irawan 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon we will be launching our Mattress Appeal, which aims to secure many more mattresses for the children we sponsor. Please stay tuned!

If you would like to donate a mattress, please consider giving $120, which will purchase a new mattress, pillows and sheets for a child. We will provide full receipts and photographs of where and who your mattress has been donated to.

Remember to mark your donation ‘to purchase mattress’. You can donate here.

~ By Aron Hughes at Bali Children’s Project (BCP). Aron is from UK and currently living in Bali, Indonesia, where he does marketing and public relations for BCP. 

Rescuing the Island’s Donkeys

Donkeys are not native to the island of Bonaire. They were brought here by the Spanish in the 17th century to be used as modes of transportation and for hard labor.

Today, there is not practical use for the feral donkeys. They walk around freely and unfortunately are victims of motor accidents, dehydration and hunger.

It was about time someone stepped in and took care of these friendly animals. In 1993 Dutch Nationals, Marina Melis and her husband Ed Koopman, established a donkey sanctuary on Bonaire for sick, wounded and orphaned donkeys: Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire.

donkey sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire provides a sheltered, protected life to over 400 donkeys in Bonaire. It is open to tourists, schools and community members who want to know more about donkeys, have a fun day sightseeing, or want to volunteer.

Walking into the sanctuary grounds, you can see Marina or one of her volunteers addressing the needs of the residents with food, water and medical care. She was bandaging a broken leg of a 4 months old pup during my visit. The baby would be given physical therapy so he walks on 4 legs and kept in a secluded area (with a donkey doll) for few hours each day to rest.

She shows me a separate pen where mothers and foals can stay together, so they don’t feel threatened. The orphans are raised with a baby bottle, till they can eat themselves. There is also an elderly pen for the donkeys who take time to eat and might not otherwise be able to get to their food.

donkey old home

Visitors can drive through the sanctuary in their vehicle (very slowly to avoid accidents) and be greeted by hundreds of donkeys. They come to the cars, sniff your belonging, give you kisses, and rub against your door. The donkeys here are not afraid of humans as they have become accustomed to love and friendship.

donkey kisses

There is a viewing tower where one can get off and climb a few steps to get a nice look at the sanctuary grounds. With wild shrubs and barren lands, this map feel like the serenity. Bring your binoculars so you can see a sole donkey taking a nap in one of the shelters, or playing with her baby under a tree.

donkey serengeti

On the way out, visit the rescued iguanas and turtles too. The Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is a small nonprofit that runs independently. Here are some ways to get involved:

Adopt a donkey

For US$175 per year you can adopt a donkey. You receive an adoption certificate and a photo of your donkey that, of course, continues to live with us at the sanctuary. Periodically, you will receive from us news about your donkey and you will be kept informed about our activities. We hope you will find many opportunities to visit your donkey!

Donate

From just US$ 50 per year you can become a donor and help enormously with the care of the donkeys. Direct donations toward feed, water, medicine is possible too.

volunteer at donkey sanctuary

Volunteer

The sanctuary is run entirely by volunteers and long term internship and volunteer programs are possible. Help with cleaning, feeding, management, gift shop, etc. Marina prefers a minimum 6 weeks commitment as the donkeys take some time to form human attachment.

Donkey Sanctuary Bonaire is open for visitors daily from 10.00 until 17.00 hours. Tours by car, scooter, bike, or on foot. The entrance fee is US $7 for adults. Children up to 12 years only pay US $3.50. Adopters receive free entrance for 2 persons from their family.

Twelve year old teacher goes to India

Teaching is one of my passions. My name is Manika Bhatia. I am a 12 year old girl, studying in 7th grade at North Gwinnett middle school in suburbs of Atlanta. I enjoy playing basketball, swimming, volunteering with kids, and spending time with friends and family. When I grow up, I would like to be a corporate lawyer.  But in the meantime, I am enjoying teaching.

Continue reading “Twelve year old teacher goes to India”

Why on Earth Would I Volunteer at a Shrimp Farm in Ecuador?

Several years ago, I made the decision like many others, to leave my well guided path of working my way up the ranks in a stable career, to venture off on a new journey traveling around the world and looking for alternative possibilities for earning my way in life.  I had no solid idea of where exactly I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, just that I had to start investigating the numerous opportunities that this vast world provides.

Continue reading “Why on Earth Would I Volunteer at a Shrimp Farm in Ecuador?”

Volunteer Guides in South Korea

The best way to see a place is through the eyes of the locals. Whenever possible, I avoid hop-on buses and express tours. I like to explore cities by simply walking around and getting lost. But its always best to have a local person who speaks the local language and is familiar with the streets show you around.

Continue reading “Volunteer Guides in South Korea”

Volunteering on Cumberland Island

Love history and nature? Want to take a break away from the hustle and bustle of city life? Here’s a neat opportunity! You can be a Plum Orchard Caretaker for up to 2-3 months. Cumberland Island is a 20 mile long island off the coats of Georgia and Florida. Continue reading “Volunteering on Cumberland Island”