Travelling with Intrepid and want to know how to help the communities you visit? Geoff Manchester, Intrepid’s co-founder & Managing Director helps you work out whether to pack stuff or money…
“When Darrell Wade and I set up Intrepid Travel more than two decades ago, the term ‘responsible travel’ had not yet been coined. The vast majority of holidays on offer involved little – if any – interaction with local communities and people were much less aware of the environmental and social impact their holiday had on their destination.
On the streets of St Petersburg every night thousands of homeless people are trying to survive freezing temperatures.
There are more than 30,000 homeless people living on the streets of St. Petersburg (by official statistics) but experts believe is more like 60-70,000. In winter the temperature ranges from minus 9 to minus 15 degrees Celsius. In conditions like these hot food becomes a necessity that ensures people’s survival on the streets, however there’s no possibility for a homeless person to cook hot food for themself. In a lot of cases, these people do not even have access to clean water.
For the past 10 years, The Intrepid Foundation has worked with Braille Without Borders to support their efforts to make a better life for Tibet’s blind. Around 15% of the population has severe vision impairment and sadly this is well above the average of most other countries.
Braille Without Borders commenced in 1998 in Lhasa, with the opening of the first rehabilitation and training centre for the blind in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The main goal is the integration and acceptance of the blind in the Tibetan society, through the four major projects:
- Implementation of a preparatory school for blind children.
- Production of educational materials for the blind.
- Preparation of a reintegration program, facilitating the return to local schools and home life.
- Realisation of a vocational training which gives blind people an opportunity and skills to generate their own income.
How could giving to kids on the street be selfish? Just-one is a hands-on organisation in Nepal and every day they see the consequences of people’s good intentions. Try to put yourself in the place of these vulnerable young children…
- I need reasons to get off the streets – not to stay on them!
- I’m too young to know that any of the nice things you may kindly give me will only encourage me to continue begging on the street – which is no place for a child like me.
The Intrepid Foundation was established in 2002 to donate funds to vital grassroots projects in the regions where Intrepid Travel operates, in the areas of healthcare, education, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development and environmental and wildlife protection.
The Foundation also makes donations to several well-respected international non-government organisations (NGOs) including PLAN, Amnesty International, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Greenpeace. Plus we make one-off grants to environmental and social causes, and contribute funds to emergency appeals.
Intrepid Travel matches all donations made by travellers and staff plus pays all administration costs, so donors know that every penny or cent of their donation – and much more – is going to a good cause!
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Our Intrepid Bundu team in South Africa used this Nelson Mandela quote as their inspiration to invest in the local community school in Zandspruit. As their celebration of Mr Mandela’s 94th birthday on 18 July, the team decided to plant fruit trees at the primary school and then teach the children how to take care of these trees. It was a fantastic day and Intrepid’s Lorell Strydom fills us in on what it was like to be filled with the spirit of Mandela…
A bit about Zandspruit…
Zandspruit is an informal settlement in the West Rand of Johannesburg. This is like a forgotten community as it is too small (although 70,000 permanent residents!) to be recognised by the authorities. It started in 1994 just after the election, when people came to Johannesburg with a dream in their hearts for a better future – today housing and primary living conditions are still a daily struggle. This community has 2 primary schools – 1 that looks after Grade 1 to 4 and the other looks after Grade 5 to 7. There are no secondary schools, libraries, youth centres or parks and recreations areas, and a lot of children are still not getting the opportunity to be educated.
One of the things that Denis Sobnakov loves most about being an Intrepid group leader is introducing travellers to inspiring local characters. Mongolia is a perfect example of how in one day you can come away with a lasting impression of a country and its people…
“Despite being a gorgeous and wonderful land, nowadays Mongolia has a lot of social issues that are not easy to overcome in a hurry. One of the biggest problems is the high rate of abandoned kids. Fortunately there are some generous people who have made it their priority to help the local community, like those who run Lotus Children’s Centre.
At Intrepid, we’re always on the lookout for inspiring adventures and travel stories. And right now, what’s really got us thinking is “what inspires us to travel?” So we asked our staff a few questions on what, or who, is the motivation behind their most memorable escapes.
It turns out our team has a lot in common when it comes to certain things, like art and history – the majority of people quizzed would pick London, New York, Paris and Berlin as their top picks for galleries, and as for iconic people, there was definitely a trend for Mandela, Shackleton and Che Guevara-inspired adventures.
If you’ve been looking for a reason to visit Jordan, then this is the year! 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the re-discovery iconic Petra and the whole country is celebrating. But the excitement and inspiration doesn’t stop there, as Lauren Jones discovered on her Intrepid trip…
“The first day of our Jordan adventure and we’re driving into the desert of Wadi Rum. As opposed to endless drifting sand hills, Wadi Rum is a beautiful and bizarre landscape of sand valleys (wadis) sunk beneath huge stone monoliths. We leave the bus behind and switch to 4WD jeeps for a bouncy ride that changes by the minute as we navigate these giants. The rocks have innumerable variations, from cliffs upon which the sand dunes break and build to sandstone crevasses of cool shade, where wind and rain have conspired to melt the rock into wedding-cake formations.
Combining culinary adventures with your travel journeys is a must, especially in Japan where you can enjoy the freshest sushi, be tempted by tempura and even design your own okonomiyaki! And this is where delicious (and healthy) fast food meets super-fast local transport, as Aaron Davis explains…
“Part of the enjoyment of travel is getting from place to place. What can seem a chore in many countries is an enjoyable, speedy and sociable treat in Japan.