We go beyond donations. We believe that all our team members can add value to our local communities if we leverage our personal and organizational skills and capabilities. Not only is it a positive experience for the communities but it is also fun and educational for our team as they are engaged in sectors of society they may otherwise have no contact with.
We encourage our team members to learn about sustainable tourism through attending local workshops and conferences, and we also invite inspiring organizations to come and talk to us about important local issues.
We also give our staff the opportunity to dedicate one work day per quarter to volunteering with one of the charitable organizations that we support. We select our partner organizations based on their strong principles and ethics and the care and dedication of their staff for the beneficiaries they are working with.
Here are a few of the organizations our team have the opportunity to volunteer with.
With one in five people living in slums, Techno brings together the strength and compassion of young volunteers to deliver an improved quality of life for impoverished families. Our team are part of the family of one million volunteers that Techno has already mobilized to provide better housing and community projects, and education and leadership training.
Started in 1984 with just four children in a small shed, Tamana was founded solely for the purpose of helping cognitively impaired, intellectually challenged, and autistic young people in India. Since then it is one of India’s shining institutions for special education, in which over 200 children receive welfare, educational support and skill development in Delhi. We are proud to partner with this organization and many of our team members have frequently visited Tamana to interact and share their passions and skills with the students.
Our Delhi team support Salaam Baalak Trust, an NGO that provides a sensitive and caring environment for street and working children within their city. The team spend quality time with the children, imparting knowledge and skills, as well as friendship and mentorship to the children. We now partner with the trust and offer highly personalized visits to this extraordinary organization that allows you to interact with the children. The work of Salaam Balaak Trust was applauded during a visit from HRH Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton.
VKH Rainbow Home is a safe space for vulnerable girls, often living on the streets, to gain free access to protection, nutrition, health care and education. The home is located close to our Bangalore office, so our team go and spend time with the children, and spend office hours making sandwiches for the children to enjoy a picnic lunch during India’s festival season.
Meta Meta Children’s Home is children’s home located in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, which promotes the advancement of education through providing 140 children with pay school fees, uniforms and paying for school fees and travel costs.
Grassroots movement, The Ugly Indian, mobilizes individuals to change the deep-rooted behavior of littering and apathetic attitudes of poor hygiene and sanitation, and be actively engaged in cleaning up and beautifying India’s streets. Our team in Bangalore have been involved in many projects around the office, from scrubbing and painting tired walls and planting saplings to putting in public seating.
We love to celebrate the birthdays of all our team members and, in addition to the fuss that individuals make of a colleague’s day, we also usually have a joint birthday celebration for all the team who had their birthday that month by cutting a cake. In Nairobi, we have taken this one step further and have begun to share our birthday celebrations with local orphanages.
We are now working closely with our local NGO partners to ensure that each celebration is well planned so that we are inclusive of ensuring no child is left out. We intend to have a rotation of different groups of children each time, with children who also have birthdays in that month share in our fun. We request our NGO partners to share their food preferences, who usually prefer nutritious and delicious local food over fast food. We also ask for suggested quantities to prevent food wastage. We focus on the joy of games rather than candy. A few gifts are given to the home based on the needs of the NGO – such as stationery or clothing.
“Recently in Nairobi, we had the opportunity to organize a joint birthday celebration with the children from Dagoretti Girls Rehab School, a local school for girls from a disadvantaged background located in the outskirts of the city. It was a wonderful day of friendship and camaraderie – we had lunch together, played games and enjoyed sports competitions, and finally concluded the day with a fun birthday celebration.” – Florian Keller, COO & Co-Founder
In addition to volunteering, we often invite social and conservation organizations, as well as best practice partners in the travel industry into our offices to share their stories with us, which help guide and inspire us with our sustainability efforts. We have begun to partner with organizations such as Eco-Tourism Society of Kenya, which can provide training and certification in sustainable tourism for our staff.
With the floods that took place in 2018, both India offices held donation drives to support local emergency relief response NGOs in Coorg and Kerala, which were delivered through our own on-the-ground connections.
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