Like so many girls living in rural poverty in Cambodia, Wattana was forced to leave school in grade six to help support the nine people in her family. To make money, she cut wood for a pittance in a nearby forest. Wattana always knew she was capable of much more. So, when she heard that a Plan partner in a nearby town offered restaurant and tourism training, she decided it was precisely the opportunity she needed.
The course provided young people like her with hands-on training in restaurant and housekeeping services, and included office and English skills to help them get jobs in the Sala Bai tourist industry. However, the training involved an intensive, 12-month course away from home, and her mother believed this to be inappropriate, given Wattana’s gender. She thought her daughter should remain in the village like the other girls, cutting wood and getting married and raising children.
Saidia is based in Gilgil, north west of Nairobi in the Rift Valley of Kenya. Extended family networks are very strong in Kenya and orphaned children are usually taken in by their relatives. But a sad reality is that in this region many families have lost the entire parent generation to HIV/Aids.
If they made a movie of this man’s life there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house, because to see what can be achieved by one person’s commitment to helping others is very moving and inspiring. KOTO stands for ‘know one, teach one’ and that’s exactly what Jimmy Pham has done since founding the not-for-profit hospitality training organisation in Vietnam in 1999. Hundreds of disadvantaged youth have benefitted from Jimmy’s vision, passion and dedication and now’s your chance to travel with him to Vietnam on a very personal Intrepid journey.
Jimmy Pham, KOTO CEO and Young Global Leader 2011, is returning to his roots in Vietnam to take you on a very special journey departing 5 August, 2012. It’s an exciting full-circle for Jimmy, as his concern for street kids in Hanoi started when he was an Intrepid group leader and the travel company supported him in his efforts to give these children a better future. The Intrepid Foundation has been a long-time benefactor of KOTO and Intrepid travellers enjoy being taken to KOTO restaurants to see for themselves what a difference the hospitality training is making to these young lives.
Did you know there’s more regulation on the global trade of bananas and bottled water than guns and bullets? You might think this sounds like a B-grade movie plot, but sadly, it’s not! EVERY minute, one person is killed by armed violence fuelled by an unregulated arms trade. This deadly trade puts WEAPONS in the hands of tens of thousands of child soldiers, and forces millions to flee their homes.
This violence can happen because countries including the US, Russia, UK and France have been exporting guns, bombs and other weapons for years, with very little regulation about who they can sell to or how. Right now however, we’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change this, and keep the world’s weapons out of the wrong hands.
Commemorated every year on 5 June, World Environment Day is one of the main ways the United Nations “stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.” It’s also a day to remind us to take stock of our own behaviour, and that includes what we do when we’re travelling.
Whether we’re swimming in it, paddling on it, or drinking it – luxuriating in refreshing water can bring us infinite pleasure while we’re on holidays. But of course we don’t want it to be at the cost of the local residents. Nearly 3 billion people or half the world live in water-scarce conditions and people are travelling more than ever, so how can we be water wise when we’re away from home?
Kyila was raised in a remote village on the Tibetan plateau. Her father, her twin brothers and Kyila were all born blind. Villagers believed that the family were cursed. “Children didn’t want to play with us,” Kyila says, “adults would throw old food on our doorstep.” Today Kyila is the founder and principle of the first integrative kindergarten in China.
Here she teaches blind and sighted children to become confident, critical and alert little thinkers. “I want to prove that blindness is not a punishment! I am educated, I have travelled the world and I am the richest woman in my village, and this because I am blind.”
Emanuel ran away from home when he was just 11 years old. He was living in Northern Tanzania. His parents divorced when he was young and when his father remarried support stopped for Emanuel, his sister and their mother. To try to make ends meet, Emanuel’s mother would send the children to the street to beg, while she took up with various men. One long-term boyfriend was an alcoholic and beat Emanuel frequently. In 2009 Emanuel fled.
Emanuel was homeless for 6 months before coming to Amani Children’s Home. When he arrived, he could not read or write, but Emanuel proved to be bright and eager to learn. He is well-organised and meticulous with his school work and now, after 2 years in Amani’s program, he’s preparing to enter Grade 4.
Up until a couple of years ago, most children aged between three and five in rural villages in Laos were not attending preschool. This was largely due to the lack of facilities, trained teachers and learning materials, but also because most parents in rural Laos didn’t understand the importance of early childhood education for children.
Education is a key pathway to breaking the cycle of poverty. As one of the least developed countries in the world, Plan, with the support of SAMA, is working in northern Laos to provide children aged 0-8 years with support for their development. This is being done through education for parents on health, early stimulation and learning, access to quality formal and informal preschool services, as well as school readiness for older children.
In late January, when the 19th Egyptian Marathon took place in Luxor, one special entrant caused some surprise and consternation. In fact the policeman at the car park said that young Felix wasn’t allowed.
After much negotiation by Felix’s companion, Kim, he was able to proceed and win hearts along the way. You see Felix is an orphan and resident of Animal Care in Egypt (ACE). That’s right, Felix is a donkey!
If portering was an Olympic endurance event, the trekking porter would win all the medals for their weight-lifting skills. Celebrate and admire these incredible athletes of the mountains. Watch them in action, appreciate the balance, strength, endurance and their good nature, then try picking up a load yourself!
Portering is an important part of the economy in many popular hiking destinations. If you are off trekking in places like the Himalayas, Mt Kilimanjaro or shorter treks like on the Inca Trail in the Andes, employ porters, support the tradition and take good care of them. At Intrepid, we follow strict guidelines in how we recruit and care for porters. You can play an important part in this…