Another year of improving life in hard-to-reach places, thanks to you.
What a tough year it’s been for so many of the communities we serve, yet how inspiring to see their resilience, perseverance and determination to support one another. A key focus of the Exodus Travels Foundation this year has been doing what we can to come alongside these communities while tourism has remained mostly paused, either with emergency supplies, or longer term assistance for recovery across communities and ecosystems. Read on for more…
Award-winning Community Kickstart Project: Our Community Kickstart Project is all about enabling our global leaders and other partners to support and empower their local communities, and their efforts have been recognised through two travel industry awards, received this Autumn. This year, we were able to extend our support to 14 Kickstart initiatives. Most recently, our operator partner in Kenya used one of our Kickstart grants to run a 5-day Masai women’s empowerment workshop, focusing on income generation, and social and emotional resilience following a pandemic which has seen a rise in unemployment and gender-based violence across Kenya’s Mara region.
Giving land back to nature so elephants can thrive: On World Elephant Day, we were delighted to launch our new Free to Roam project, in partnership with Kenyan conservation experts, Tsavo Trust and the Tofauti Foundation. Its aim is to see elephants and other wildlife thrive, by empowering Tsavo communities to give 90% of land back to nature while increasing food security through permaculture on the remaining 10%. This is just one of the ways we are pursuing our new goal to ensure our adventures are Nature Net Positive by 2021.
Our first 10 Mountain Lionesses on film: Following the graduation of our first 10 Mountain Lionesses in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, we were delighted to share their story to date, and their reflections on the mountain guide training they’d undertaken, in our mini film. We’ve also been able to support 1,225 other porters and mountain crew this year, through income generation training and Village Savings & Loans Associations at a time when tourism income is scarce.
Tour Leaders teaching on reproductive health: While our Tour Leaders in Nepal weren’t able to lead Exodus adventures, they took the opportunity to use their spare time to great effect. Our NGO partner, Freedom Kit Bags, trained them up to deliver reproductive health learning in their own rural Himalayan Communities, where there is a still a great stigma around menstruation. Not only was it brave for our leaders to face this stigma head-on in their own communities, they equipped no less than 1,125 girls and women with Freedom Kit Bags (washable sanitary wear) significantly reducing infection risk.
Emergency Relief for India and Nepal: Upon seeing the devastating impact of a second wave of COVID across India and Nepal in late spring, we launched our COVID Emergency Relief Appeal. And your incredible generosity helped us raise almost £25,000 to provide much needed food and health essentials for our trek staff and other vulnerable communities across India and Nepal – well over a 1,000 food packages in fact, each feeding a family for a month. Read more here about the difference this support has made.
Next we’re extending our emergency support to Southern Africa; we’ve just launched our Christmas COVID Emergency Relief Appeal for Zambia.
‘Exodus to Kathmandu’ staff challenge: Inspired by your generous response to the above appeal, Exodus staff and friends took up the challenge to collectively travel the miles from London to Kathmandu, on foot, bike and even horseback! Their combined efforts clocked up a grand total of 5,831 miles which far overshot Kathmandu, and raised a healthy £3,155 for colleagues in India and Nepal.
Worth More Alive gets back up to speed: After COVID put his feat ‘on paws’, Paul Goldstein’s Worth More Alive X campaign got up and running again a few months ago. He and his legendary tiger suit kicked off his triple marathon challenge with the Brighton Marathon in September, closely followed by the London Marathon in October. Still to come – the big one – Paul and his tiger will taken on the Everest Marathon next April. Your incredible support has so far raised an epic £83,000, fully funding the renovation of two schools in Bandhavgarh and enabling us to start another tiger habitat protection project early next year. We look forward to keeping you updated on that!
This year, we were also pleased to unveil our new Exodus Travels Foundation web pages, which give a much more comprehensive overview of our current and historical projects, by continent. To take a look and read more about the Foundation’s work, click here.
As this year draws to a close, we want to express our gratitude to every part of our community – staff, partners, clients – who have supported the Foundation’s work this year. Your generosity has helped us impact lives across many parts of the world in an extremely challenging context – thank you.