You’ve made many children and elephants in Thailand very happy! Thanks to everyone who joined in our Twitter and Facebook campaign to raise money for Thai charities impacted by the recent unrest in Bangkok. Since 21 May we got a great 458 ‘likes’ and re-tweets, so to show our appreciation Intrepid Travel is doubling the money raised and rounding it up to a cool $1000 (to be split between both charities).
Intrepid’s pledge was to donate $1 to selected Thai charities for every Twitter post re-tweet and for every person who selects that they ‘like’ Intrepid’s status update on Facebook. “We’re concerned that a lack of tourists means that these charities miss out on valuable donations that help them operate on a day-to-day basis,” said Eliza Anderson, spokesperson for Intrepid Travel. “We are praying for a peaceful resolution to the current situation but in the meantime are asking people to help ensure these charities continue to receive support.”
During the recent unrest in Thailand we caught up with our two Intrepid Foundation beneficiary charities, to see how they are faring: Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) and Baan Unrak Children’s Village.
Soraida Salwala, the Founder of FAE writes: “I went to Bangkok for FAE bank transactions but became stuck and unable to return. I had to rely on working by SMS and email, however I talked to Motala and Mosha via mobile phone. My staff had the speaker on and held the phone near them. They were surprised at first but became used to hearing my voice over that small object. Motala reaches her trunk and touches the phone. Mosha will have her trunk up in reply to my greetings “Sawasdee kha!”
For 13 years now Intrepid is proud to have supported the great work of the Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF), in restoring sight and improving eye health across Indochina. In recent years The Intrepid Foundation’s contributions have gone towards some of their fantastic work in Cambodia and Daniel Martin at FHF has recently updated us on their progress…
“I am very proud to report that the program in Cambodia was a great success in 2009, partly due to great support received by Intrepid. Some of the key achievements of The Fred Hollows Foundation Cambodia Program in 2009 include:
- 48,169 people screened
- 4,470 cataract and 1,398 other sight-restoring surgeries performed
- 5,432 spectacles distributed
- 6 surgeons and 11 mid-level personnel clinically trained
- 357 community health workers trained
- 445 people attending continuing education
- 1 new secondary eye unit constructed
- AU$377,817 of equipment supplied.
Sitting on little plastic stools and drinking from thick glasses with more imperfections and bubbles than the beer they hold, this is what Intrepid’s Bruce McPhie loves about enjoying a Bia Hoi in Vietnam…
“Xin chao, Bia Hoi, hello!” Over the non-stop horns and rumble of Hanoi’s crazy street traffic, the man’s voice booms out. I glance across to the other side of the road, being careful not to walk into a weaving motorbike or a street seller with loaded bamboo pole strung across her shoulders, but I already know the owner of the voice and his familiar call. With fond memories, I acknowledge his friendly smile and wave, as he stands in his old black suit on the opposite pavement.
We are delighted to be returning to Timor-Leste in 2010 with 4 departures from July to September. Places are filling fast as the word spreads that Timor has the welcome mats back out, and our friends across the country are eager to see Intrepid travellers again.
Jane Crouch, our Responsible Travel Manager and resident Timor-phile took a world music choir over to tour the country last August. Jane writes, “It was simply sensational returning after a two-and-a-half year absence. As we travelled around many of my favourite communities across the country, and visited some that were new to me, my heart and soul were filled with the feeling that we were in the right places at the right time. At our gig in Baucau, Timor’s second largest town, around 400 people of all ages came out for the evening and joined in the dance and songs of the 5 performing groups. At a smaller gathering in Los Palos in the east, after we sang the moving song Walk With Me, we were overwhelmed when a young musician said “We want you to walk with us.”
Intrepid Travel is currently looking into publishing our first Sustainability Report which will give our people (i.e YOU!) an insight into how the company is managing its impacts on the environment, society, the communities we operate in and more. But we need YOUR help.
Please assist us by sharing your thoughts and as thanks for completing our survey you could WIN a carbon offset trip in Thailand!
To make a big difference to your planet this Earth Day, consider one of the following outstanding conservation projects through The Intrepid Foundation.
You can help support:
The fabulous making of essential school kits out of trash in Bihar, India through GOONJ; help save endangered turtles in Vietnam through work at Cuc Phuong National Park; support the restoration of the habitat of extraordinary wildlife on the island of Floriana in the Galapagos through The Charles Darwin Foundation; help keep families in remote villages of Peru healthy through the provision of ceramic water filters, or help the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre rescue endangered Asiatic black bears from the illegal wildlife trade in Laos.
The Intrepid Foundation has long supported the Animal Care in Egypt hospital on the outskirts of Luxor because sadly there can be a downside to local transport when animals are involved. Here they are dedicated to improving the lives of the working animals in Egypt and as Sue from ACE reports, they are delighted when a sad story turns to good news…
“A donkey was brought in to the ACE hospital with an injury seen all too commonly – a saddle sore. In the majority of cases, these wounds are caused by inappropriate padding underneath tack, or due to badly fitting tack. He initially had two wounds which were very slow to heal so he had a prolonged stay with us at the hospital.
The Intrepid Foundation is a long-time supporter of the Baan Unrak Children’s Village in Sangklaburi, Thailand. Volunteer Coordinator, Anne Cecile, recently sent us this update on how our last donation is being used…
“Here at Baan Unrak, the teenage boys and girls live in different houses. The girls have a concrete home, but the boys have a bamboo hut, which only lasts for a year as the rainy season makes it fall apart. The fact of living in a bamboo hut has been quite depressing for the boys. They feel discriminated against, it lowers their self esteem and they do not feel safe from intruders, increasing their fears and insecurity. The boys are currently living in one end of their house because the roof has caved in the other section, the walls have fallen down and all up, the house must be rebuilt.
“Money mister? One dollar? One pen? One bon-bon? One rupee?” Coming to grips with poverty whilst travelling in developing countries, and deciding how you might respond to beggars can be distressing. Intrepid’s approach varies from culture to culture, but with advice from those in the aid and development sector, we suggest a few pointers:
- Don’t give to begging children. Giving to children is a sure way to perpetuate their poverty, particularly when they and their parents consider it more lucrative than attending school. If you want to support children, seek out organisations that are working to provide educational opportunities to the poorest children. A good education will be their best opportunity to climb out of poverty.