Our Africa and India offices offer internships to youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, regardless of their geography.
Enchanting Travels’ team members personally mentor our interns to allow them to overcome challenges and support them with their career-related decisions. Our internship and mentor program offers unusual opportunities for our guests to interact with young people and gain insights into everyday life in their host country, as we often involve them in airport meet and greets, and briefings for our guests.
Some of our former interns have been adopted into the family as fully-fledged Enchanters and risen through the ranks!
We take pride in having created environments of opportunity and love to see every staff member, regardless of their background, flourish and grow.
While there is a high education rate, the challenges of unemployment in Kenya continue, with about 40 per cent of Kenyan people having no stable income. Our partnership with the LOGOS Scholarship Fund allows us to provide three to four month internships with high school graduates in order to help them gain practical work experience and nurture new skills, so that they are equipped to start their own business or increase their employability.
Roselyne Achieng, our Product Management Coordinator in our Kenya office, has a most inspiring story in how she came to work for Enchanting Travels.
”In 2006, I was working as a house help and chef full-time job, which paid less than a dollar a day. Due to the low income I spent my evenings doing embroidery work and selling to hotels and restaurants, and at the weekends, I worked in a local nail spa. My mother was taking care of five children single-handedly and we had decided as a family that my sisters and I would work so my youngest brother would get a chance to study.
While delivering orders to hotel Macushla House one day, I was told by the staff about a new company. I was given a business card for Florian Keller, one of the founders. Thinking to try my luck, I sent him a text message and said that while I had no experience, I was looking for work and was willing to cook, clean houses or offices, do laundry and clean shoes. Florian replied to say that the office wasn’t open yet but he would let me know. For eight months, I would get in touch with Florian whenever I could, and ask how the office was. This paid off when Florian said that while he didn’t have a job in the office for me, he did need some help cleaning his own apartment and would pay me double of what I was currently getting paid. I moved immediately.
After three months, Florian offered me a job at Enchanting Travels as an office assistant and messenger. I never had a CV, so Florian helped me draft one and briefed the team about my arrival. I was very scared about the messenger job as I didn’t know Nairobi well since our family were originally from the Kenyan Coast. The team helped me learn how to read paper maps so that I could deliver checks to our partners and run errands in the city. At this time, I didn’t know anything about computers – I didn’t even know how to switch one on! The team all volunteered and took it in turns to show me the basics, and would give me things to type so I learned. Whenever I could, I would spend my free time learning. I was interested in Math and so the team would teach me spreadsheets and costings.
During my first few years with the company, I was living in the servant quarters inside our office compound, and so I was always close to work. I didn’t have a TV there, so when everyone went home I would stay in the office and learn whatever I wanted to know on the computer. A year later, in 2008, I told Florian that I wanted to become an assistant Travel Consultant. He didn’t realize I had secretly been learning how to use all our computer systems, but he agreed to give me a trial! I no longer needed to run around Nairobi! I was promoted every single year after that. I kept moving departments and so I was able to really understand all the different elements of the company, and eventually I was given my first managerial role.
In 2009, I decided to re-join my high school and went for evening classes after work. This was tough because I hadn’t been at school for over ten years, but after two years I took my final exam and gained my high school certificate. I then joined college part time and gained a diploma in Tourism Management.
While continuing to work at Enchanting Travels as Product Management Coordinator, I’m now doing a part-time online learning Bachelor of Art in Travel & Hospitality Management. In addition to that, I love cooking, so on the weekends I sleep late and wake up early so that I can make snacks which I then sell in the week to my colleagues.
I also supply to a few local shops and fulfill orders for events. When I’m not baking I am making beautiful baskets and flower pots with the used paper from our office, and painting animals on glass that I then frame and also sell. I’ve always found that cooking, art and embroidery relaxes my mind, so I don’t mind doing this extra work. I have since started a small school in my home where I am teaching my family, a few local mamas, and interested neighbors, my baking and crafts skills so they can also earn extra income.
When I think about the future I know it is very bright! When I retire I would love for my partner and I to have our restaurant, specializing in African or international cuisine. I am already saving for this dream.
On reflection, it has never been a smooth road with Enchanting Travels and it is a constant learning curve. I know that my success is a result of all the sweat, hard work – and even tears – that I have put in. There are always new experiences at Enchanting Travels and you are always receiving feedback on how you are doing. Two years into working with the company I actually wanted to go back to house cleaning and cooking, because it was within my comfort zone. I am proud that I stayed and who I have become today, with all the skills and experience I have gained. I am determined. Every day I set a goal that I must complete at work and one personal goal at home, so I am always achieving something. It feels good.
I think Enchanting Travels is a very responsible tour company, particularly with its internship programs for high school leavers – who does that?! We are also more engaged with sustainability and receiving professional training through TravelLife, and we choose our industry partners really carefully.
I love our partnership with Dagoretti Girls Rehabilitation Center. Mentoring the kids, spending quality time with them and hearing their touching stories is amazing. Through our time with the girls we really are encouraged to think twice. Some of the children don’t know when they are born, so for us to celebrate their birthdays with them is a new experience that makes them feel special. We also go shopping and get supplies that we know the girls need, which we can see is appreciated.
I honestly believe that Enchanting Travels is a godsend company in Africa.”
Within our Delhi office, we offer internships to students to former street kids through our partner organization Salaam Balaak Trust. We also offer internships to young people with additional needs through our partner organization, Tamana.
Within our Bangalore office, we offer internships to former residents of Baale Mane, a home for disadvantaged and abandoned young girls. Team members are now mentor the elder children to provide them with tips on professional conduct, how to look for jobs, interview skills and general moral support for their future career paths.
Raised at Baale Mane, Nandini recently joined Enchanting Travels as a fully-fledged team member after an initial internship in our Bangalore office.
“Through the internship, Enchanting Travels provided me with the exposure I was looking for on how to balance work and life, and also to help me understand what my individual goals are. It’s a great opportunity for recent graduates like me who are keen to gain knowledge.
I see the core values of Enchanting Travels as a major highlight and a very important aspect of a healthy working environment. It feels like home to be around the kind of colleagues we have. Enchanting Travels is a continuation of the family type experience I have grown up with at Baale Mane. I was very happy when I was offered a full-time job as it meant I am now a fully-fledged family member!
I’ve been learning many things, not just professionally but also personally, which I am able to explore through work. I feel a lot more confident, and I am always learning from my team. Enchanting Travels is a very positive and zealous environment to work in – the team are enthusiastic and effective, we are always working together with a lot of cooperation. I am always sharing my experience with others at Baale Mane, and some of the girls had the opportunity of visiting the office and sharing their stories about living at Baale Mane. This outing was an inspiration to many of my friends, and I think this is just the beginning of the partnership! For my friends at Baale Mane, it will provide us all with a platform to look forward to and learn about many aspects of life.
My hope for the future is simple: that in twenty years’ time I will still be working for Enchanting Travels!”
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