SAMA - Projects

The primary goal of Project SAMA is advocacy - educating our staff, passengers and the broader travel community around the issues of gender inequality, and inspiring them to take action or support our initiatives. Project SAMA's secondary aim is to fundraise for a number of projects around the world that tackle these gender inequalities, both through several existing Intrepid Foundation (TIF) projects and through a key partnership with Plan. See below for more details about each of these projects.

Plan’s Early Education project, Laos


Three years ago, preschools did not exist in Laos. Many children - particularly girls from ethnic minority backgrounds - continue to be extremely disadvantaged when it comes to education, especially education conducted in their own dialect. 

Project SAMA is committed to supporting Plan’s Early Education project in Laos’ Bokeo province. Plan is establishing parenting and community learning groups in up to 45 villages, developing locally-made play and learning materials and training preschool teachers. Plan places a great importance on promoting a more positive attitude towards girls, demonstrating to parents and the community that girls can succeed at school and have a role beyond traditional gender roles.

Since Plan began working in the region, the enrolment rates for early education classes have risen steadily in all three districts of Bokeo. Children attending the classes have enjoyed a range of learning outcomes, including a greater understanding of the Lao language (for ethnic children), the development of early literacy skills and socialisation/readiness for the routines of primary school.

Early education projects also have a positive ripple effect on the entire community by:

  • Creating vocational opportunities for women, as many women become the facilitators of the early education programs
  • Giving women who have children attending the programs the time to pursue income-generating activities or to improve their own education
  • Keeping older siblings in school rather than being left responsible for caring for their younger siblings – as is usually the case due to many mothers working outside the home to support the family.

How is gender equality being addressed?

When it comes to education in Laos, girls in rural areas have lower rates of primary and secondary school completion than boys. In addition, girls from ethnic minority groups are often married off at a young age which derails their chance of getting an education. The responsibility of looking after younger siblings is also largely the domain of young girls, limiting their opportunities for school and play. Child development programs that ensure parental attitudes and practices are supportive of children of both sexes are one of the best ways to ensure that girls, as well as boys, have the chance to develop to their full potential. Plan’s child development projects benefit girls because they promote the right of girls to play and to get an education.

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click the donate button below:


Plan's Early Education project, Uganda


Project SAMA also proudly supports Plan's Early Education work in Uganda. Only 23% of children in Uganda currently have access to early learning services, with children from rural areas more likely to miss out than their urban counterparts. In fact, most 3 to 6 year-olds in rural areas miss out on preschool entirely. 

In rural Uganda, parents often have limited knowledge of the importance of early learning and how integral it is to a child’s development. Plan’s Early Learning projects are of particular benefit to girls because they help to promote equality between girls and boys and ensure that parental attitudes and practices are supportive of young children of both sexes. 

Early Education is known to:

  • Help girls transition into formal education more easily
  • Reduces the number of girls dropping out of school
  • Reduces the rates of girls repeating grades

Activities for the program include: 

  • Early Learning centres that promote learning through play and age-appropriate activities
  • Intensive school readiness for children aged 5–6
  • A transition program to prepare children for school and schools for children.
  • Visits between children and lower primary school teachers 
  • Out of school time clubs for children who are slow learners
  • Parenting support groups
  • Training and mentoring to community volunteers

How is gender equality being addressed?

Plan's child development projects promote equality between girls and boys and ensure that parental attitudes and practices are supportive of both young boys and girls. This project helps to ensure that girls also have access to early learning and school readiness programs, which give them a better start in life. The introduction of out-of-school clubs has enabled children to improve their learning, with parents opting to send their daughters along to study instead of keeping them at home to do domestic work. Women are also actively participating in the project, with the majority of those employed as trained early childhood caregivers being female and large numbers of women attending the community parenting sessions.

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click the donate button below:


Roupa Suja Project, Brazil

Uniao de Mulheres Pró Melhoramento da Roupa Suja (UMPMRS) - translates roughly to the Union of Women for the Improvement of Roupa Suja. UMPMRS works to improve the lives of families living in favelas in the Roupa Souja neighbourhood. Most of the houses in the slum are made of rough concrete and have no access to basic facilities; residents have poor health, hygiene, and limited access to education and child minding services. 

UMPMRS provides a number of services to the families and children in the neighborhood including;

  • Day care and preschool - from 3 months to 5 years.
  • After school support classes, English classes and computer classes for elementary school students - for more than 70 people from the neighbourhood - helping prevent them dropping out of school.
  • Social assistance for young and single mothers.
  • General family assistance (pediatrician, social worker and psychologist).
  • The women's group.
  • Job training and support (predominantly for women).

UMPMRS is staffed with residents of the local community - providing more job opportunities, as well as supporting families in the area who want to better their own community.  The staff currently includes 10 women from the community and 2 maintenance men. 

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click the donate button below:


CasaSito, Guatemala

Guatemala has the highest percentage of illiteracy in Central America with more than half of the population over 15, illiterate.  77% of illiterate people are located in rural areas. The rural areas lack schools, and the schools that do exist lack school materials, are over-crowded and the teachers are lowly paid.

CasaSito’s mission is to increase educational opportunities in rural areas so that those living in poverty can attend school, receive quality instruction, and obtain the skills they need to improve their lives.

Working in four regions of Guatemala: Sacatepéquez, Alta Verapaz, Quiché, Quetzaltenango, Casa Sito undertakes two approaches to achieve its mission: 

  • Provide educational financial assistance through their scholarship program.
  • Partner with local educational centers that provide complementary education such as arts, music, and sports.

CasaSito’s vision is that those benefitting from their support will enable them to become leaders in their families, communities and beyond. They will value education, health, and personal relationships. They will strive to reach their potential and lift themselves and their families out of poverty. They will also value service and continue helping others throughout their lives.

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click the donate button below:


Bumi Sehat, Indonesia

Yayasan Bumi Sehat means “Healthy Mother Earth Foundation” in Indonesian. Bumi Sehat was founded in 1994, in the small village of Nyuh Kuning, in Bali and operates a free maternal health and infant survival clinic. The centre offers a culturally-appropriate, woman-to-woman model of midwifery and maternal health care directly to economically-challenged and socially-marginalized women and their families.

Bumi Sehat’s mission is to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality and to support the health and wise development of communities. The centre offers:

  • General family health services 
  • Education and environmental programs
  • Health, nutrition and hygiene training 
  • The sending of medical outreach teams to areas experiencing natural disasters to offer maternal health services and educate local midwives and traditional birth attendants on disaster birth protocols
  • Midwifery and nursing scholarships to girls from poor families who are unable to afford an education.

According to the World Health Organization, Indonesia has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in South East Asia. Bali is currently experiencing rapid increases in the prices of basic goods and services that are outstripping wages.  Many families find themselves unable to pay for health care. Currently, the Bumi Sehat Bali clinic provides full reproductive and general health services to approximately 1,000 people each month, and welcomes about 600 new babies into the world each year. 

Bumi Sehat also operates a birth centre and general health clinic in Samatiga, Aceh. This centre was set up after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and continues to serve the local community and internally-displaced people, treating approximately 1500 patients and delivering 30 babies every month.

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click the donate button below:


Deepalaya, India

Deepalya is building a better future for India's generation of street children.

It is estimated that Delhi alone has over 100,000 street children. Deepalaya was founded in 1979 to help children for whom the street is their place of work and home. The sad reality for most of these children is a life of hard labour and work in environments that no child should be exposed to, such as prostitution and drug trafficking.

Deepalaya focus their work on more than 35 projects, including the following areas:

  • Education
  • Gender Equity 
  • Institutional Care
  • Vocational Training
  • Health

Deepalaya’s work also includes a Vocational Centre which provides technical training for boys and girls from the surrounding villages of Mewat. They learn skills in tailoring, computer hardware and software, electronics, air conditioning and refrigeration. 

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click to donate:


Blue Dragon, Vietnam

Working in Vietnam with the most vulnerable children, Blue Dragon Children's Foundation supports street kids, children with disabilities, the rural poor, and victims of trafficking. 

Blue Dragon runs a number of programs that combat human trafficking. Their programs aim to rescue girls and boys from slavery in garment factories, as well as girls and women who have been trafficked for sex. Most of these girls have been trafficked across the border to China and sold to brothels, although they sometimes rescue girls within Vietnam and also rescue girls sold as brides. 

In addition to these rescue programs, Blue Dragon also focus on trafficking prevention through:

  • Community education 
  • Repatriation to families and support to resume a normal life
  • Prosecution of traffickers
  • Trauma therapy and counselling as part of the rehabilitation process.

Blue Dragon also helps to keep children in school and off the streets through an education sponsorship program they run in rural Vietnam. Girls are at a much higher risk of dropping out of school due to family poverty, so the majority of the students sponsored are girls. The support provided to girls to graduate from high school and move to tertiary education is a key factor to help girls break out of the poverty cycle.

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click to donate:


Village Education Project, Tanzania

The Village Education Project Kilimanjaro (VEPK) was established in 1994 with the belief that education is one of the most important parts of building sound long-term economic growth for Tanzania. With the motto ‘Elimu ni uhai - Education is life’, its projects aim to provide improved primary and vocational education to Tanzanian children.

In Tanzania children go to primary school from age 7 to 14. Most schools are in poor condition with earth floors, breeze-block walls, no shutters or doors and decrepit desks. Over 75% of primary school leavers in villages never have the chance of secondary education.

The VEPK's main focus is the Whole School Development Programme. This aims to improve the all areas of the education experience of children. It includes: training teachers in teaching methods, training head teachers in managing their workload and administrative duties, creating a staff team with delegated duties, working with school committees to address their responsibilities and how they can best be undertaken, and working with parents and the community to create greater awareness of the education of village children and the needs of the local school.

The Village Education Project Kilimanjaro also offers: 

  • A school renovation programme - providing classrooms with floors, whitewashed walls, ceiling boards, tables and benches. This helps increase school attendance, health and morale. Over 17 schools and 6,000 pupils have benefited. 
  • Regular supplies of English textbooks and reading books, Kiswahili reading books, posters, teaching aids, drawing and colouring materials and sports equipment. These increase pupils’ motivation and improve their English learning. 
  • An English teaching programme - after training in the UK, volunteers help teach English in primary schools. This improves pupils’ English and helps the local teachers. English is essential for further education as all manuals, instruction books and text books are in English. 
  • A vocational training school - offers three courses for primary school leavers and village youth. Students produce goods for the school’s own shop which sells to tourists. Young people are provided with skills and earning potential. 
  • A computer centre with courses for adults, special programmes for primary school teachers and internet access. This assists numerous people to learn about and use new technology. 


If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click to donate:



Mavi Kalem, Turkey

Mavi Kalem was established in 2000 in response to the terrible earthquakes that hit Istanbul that year. There was an immediate need for a social welfare program in the poorer areas of Fener and Balat, where the population is mostly rural immigrants from eastern Turkey. The immigrants are isolated from their natural communities, have low levels of education, and have limited incomes from menial employment. For the children, life is hard and school is given a low priority.    

Mavi Kalem has put together projects to directly assist these children and help them see the benefits of education and school.  Early on, they included: a library for children of the area to use, dancing and theatre classes, street theatre performances, photography lessons, writing classes and publishing a local newspaper. . 

Today, Mavi Kalem holds weekly classes in all areas of formal education such as maths, science, geography, history and literature, facilitated by trained teachers. In Turkey it's an accepted practice that children attend a "dershane" or tutor for extra lessons after school. These private lessons help children get the additional learning assistance that they would otherwise miss in crowded state schools. Because most children in Fener and Balat would never be able to afford such a luxury, this wonderful program provides all the children of the area with the educational opportunities that well off families have.  They also provide a free professional consultancy on women's health and women's rights in Turkey.  

If you would like to contribute and help us raise much needed funds for this project, please click to donate: