Intrepid travellers to Luang Prabang in Laos have been enthusiastically visiting and supporting the nearby Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre. Thanks to their help, in the last year we have raised a whopping AU$23,800 for the Centre through the Intrepid Foundation!
If you are heading to Laos, don’t miss a visit to meet their first sun bear. Free The Bears, Laos Program Manager, Jane Clegg reports:
“A young male bear was confiscated from a bile farm and brought to us in late April. He was badly injured, weak and in very poor health when he first arrived and in need of care 24 hours a day. Read more
When you take time to get to know a local community the benefits can include a greater understanding of complex cultural contrasts, as Intrepid Express reader Jeremy Wilson discovered in Thailand…
“A short time back, the BBC reported that a rural school in Thailand risked using their campus for a peculiar experiment: they provided an extra washroom on their grounds; one for boys, one for girls, and one for ‘katoeys‘. The headline read “Thai school offers transsexual toilet.”
If encountered by an individual unfamiliar with Thai culture, such an article will automatically elicit some curiosity on the reader’s behalf. There are so many possible questions that an innocent person could potentially pose concerning this unusual topic. Let’s try to illuminate this murky matter.
When considering supporting local events such a the Pamplona running of the bulls or bullfighting in Catalonia, as with most animal welfare matters Intrepid Travel has chosen to side with the experts at the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
While we appreciate that events such as Pamplona’s famous bull run are steeped in tradition, it doesn’t detract from the fact that bulls are forced to run en masse down cobbled streets, which causes significant stress and risks serious injury to both the bulls and the people attending. Many of WSPA’s member societies in Spain, France and Portugal are working hard to get this cruel practice banned.
The Intrepid Foundation is very pleased to buck the trend of the financial crisis and give away more money this year to support incredibly worthwhile and effective projects around the globe. All up AU$435,766 is being disbursed to 50 beneficiary organisations!
A big thank YOU to all the donors to The Intrepid Foundation’s Community Project Fund. Along with donations that were matched by Intrepid Travel, 35 community-based grassroots organisations and projects receive donations adding up to AU$211,631. This includes a wide range of activities. From the education of disadvantaged children in Tanzania through Amani Children’s Home and the Village Education Project, to working with the Cyclo Centre to aid welfare, education and support services for cyclo drivers in Cambodia, and helping build a shelter for pregnant elephants-in-waiting via Friends of the Asia Elephant in Thailand.
Travellers have combed great cities and climbed mountain trails to capture special travel photos and we are very excited to celebrate their achievements and announce the winners of the 2009 Intrepid Photography Competition!
As you can imagine, trying to pick winners from so many fantastic entries was a very tough task for our panel of judges. Eventually they narrowed it down to a select few, but they wanted to pass on their congratulations to everyone who entered as the standard of photographs was exceptional. The love of travel and appreciation of real life experiences was evident in the images and we look forward to sharing as many as possible with you in our Intrepid publications.
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“It was about midnight on a very cold winter’s night in Delhi, when we found this young man without legs sitting around a makeshift fire made of rubbish collected from the road-side”, writes Anshu Gupta, Director of GOONJ.
“Although GOONJ provides clothes largely under our Cloth for Work Initiative, on chilly nights we also carry out anonymous distributions on Delhi roads. We gave him a warm overcoat and started moving ahead. Then suddenly, I saw from my rear view mirror that this guy was trying to run after the car on his crutches. We stopped the vehicle, but before we could find out why, he stops, rests on the crutches, lifts both his hands and yells, “AB HUI HAI MERI EID” – now its Eid for me!
World Cup Fever is sweeping Ghana this week! Ghana has become the first African country to qualify for the 2010 Football World Cup, joining England and Australia in qualification.
Ghanaian Captain Michael Essien summed up the country’s passion for the beautiful game, “The people of Ghana wanted us to win and we did not let them down. What a fantastic feeling to be the first African country to qualify for the first World Cup to be staged in Africa.”
Brooke Malley was determined not to spend the next holiday season alone, but little did she know that she’d fall in love with Egypt, in more ways than one…
“London shuts down over Christmas. It’s hard to believe, but the greatest city in the world is a ghost town from Christmas Eve until after New Year. The streets are deserted and the bars and restaurants closed. I know this after spending one cold and bleak festive day wandering the usually bustling Notting Hill in search of Christmas lunch and a drink. I ended up with soggy take-away pizza.
Babushka Tonya Makarova, former scientific researcher, goes out onto the street which leads to the Kremlin every Saturday and Sunday in order to earn some money. Next to her small, bright camping tent are framed photos of herself surrounded by children and clippings from newspaper articles.
All week Babushka Tonya is busy making small souvenir felt boots, then an artist decorates them and the result is no ordinary Russian memento. With the money she earns, Baba Tonya buys things that children from a nearby orphanage really need: books, fur boots, clothes and more. A pair of her felt boots cost 300 rubbles, but as Tonya says, “your money will be in the children’s hands.”