What a year it’s been for our new Foundation. Since its official launch in March we’ve been privileged to fund a whole array of incredible community-based projects across our destinations, and we’ve been bowled over by the lengths our amazing community of customers, partners and staff have gone to in support.
We set ourselves the mission of improving life through travel, in hard-to-reach places, and here are a few highlights from the first year of this journey…
- Our Himalayan Tour Leader extraordinaire, Valerie Parkinson, has continued supporting remote mountain communities in Nepal and India through the Himalayan Community Project. A particular highlight was the opening of two new eco-cafes, employing no less than 35 local women, and reducing plastic waste in the mountains by providing drinking water with their UV water filters.
- In October, we fulfilled a pledge we made two years ago, to take all of our porters on the Inca Trail to experience the wonders of Machu Picchu for themselves, accompanied by a Quechuan-speaking guide. Read more in The Telegraph’s feature about this project here.
- At the end of year 3 of our Inspiration Project, we’ve now taken 6,000 disadvantaged children across 30 countries on days of adventure and exploration.
- In July, two long-time Exodus clients, Neil and Carol Bowman, took on the jaw-dropping feat of transporting a piano up to the high passes of mountainous Ladakh (at no less than 5,328m), to perform the world’s highest altitude concert! As a result, they raised an impressive £6,300 for our Himalayan Community Project; read more about their adventure here.
- Staff from across Exodus Travels and sister brand, Headwater, have been heroic in their efforts to raise funds – cycling across the UK, engaging agents in Canada, putting on events in Australia, not to mention bake sales and parties and our MD taking on his first half-marathon; there’s been no end to the team’s generous and enthusiastic support.
- Back in February, we launched our mini documentary, Ngumu, which tells the compelling story of the female porters changing the face of Kilimanjaro. Creating and watching the film sowed the seeds for the creation of our female porter scholarship scheme, more of which below…
Next year, watch this space for:
- 2020 will see Wildlife Photographer and Exodus Tour Leader, Paul Goldstein, donning his famous tiger suit one last time to take on the London and Everest marathons in an awe-inspiring quest to raise £100,000 for tiger conservation work. Read more here.
- Early next year, we’ll be launching a new scholarship programme for female porters on Kilimanjaro. Over the next 3 years, our ambition is to enable 30 women (many of them single parents with minimal household income) to train as mountain guides, significantly improving their employment opportunities in a traditionally male-dominated field.
- Our Foundation’s reach will grow to encompass some exciting new conservation projects, from helping to protect ancient forest to educating children in our destination communities about the benefits of looking after their local environments. We look forward to telling you more during the course of 2020!
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 remote parts of the world – thank you.
To read more about the Exodus Travels Foundation, click here.