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Would it be possible that one day, you’ll get tired of travelling and exploring the roads less travelled? We highly doubt so, but adding a bunch of different activities every now and then will help to shake things up and keep things fresh. We can’t think of a more meaningful holiday than going on one that allows you to give back to society. Forget large-cheque donations, it’s high time you experience the joys of working with charities to build the islands and countries you’re visiting. Here are six trips where you can ‘give back’.
1. Help schools in Sumba
Nihiwatu resort, Indonesia
This five-star destination in Indonesia works hard to support the local community. Not only did Nihiwatu help launch five medical clinics and build 48 water wells, but it has also created 15 new primary schools. Nihiwatu encourages its guests to get involved as much as they want to with the local villages so that they learn more about the country they are visiting. One such project visitors can take part in is visiting the local primary schools and helping to serve the children their school lunches.
2. Join conservationists in Cusco
If you would like to help save the world’s largest tropical rainforest, join the team at Crees in Cusco. Since 2003, the foundation has worked to establish sustainable practices in the amazon, building biogardens and creating agroforesty plots for the locals. This eco-resort teaches visitors more about this area that is famed for its biodiversity. Whether you’ve got one week or 12, there’s bound to be a perfect programme for you. The eight-week Experiential Learning Programme allows your to monitor the biodiversity in the ecosystem, collect data, embark on jungle treks and plant and measure samplings as part of the reforestation initiative with local banana farmers.
3. Plant coral in the Maldives
Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort
Diving enthusiasts and advocates for protection of marine life can now guard their underwater playground by helping to replant a reef at Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort. Guests are invited to sponsor a frame, which they can cover in coral nubs and as the years go by it will turn into its own mini reef. The lagoon is shallow enough for you to transplant the coral with just fins and a mask, so you don’t have to worry about being a non-swimmer. Anantara’s marine biologist will upload an image to its site every three months to show you progress on how your reef is doing. Frames are available in small, medium and large sizes, and are priced from US$100 (S$137).
4. Save elephants in Kegalle
The Elephant Freedom Project, Sri Lanka
In 2013, two Dutch brothers and a Sri Lankan family decided to change the welfare of elephants in Sri Lanka by launching the Elephant Freedom Project. The elephants are now free from riding, wood logging and abuse and have been given a home by the team. Visitors are encouraged to help keep these pachyderms in tip-top shape by walking and bathing them and making sure that the elephant area is a clean and safe place.
5. Grow rice in Chiang Mai
Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand
Learn about Thailand’s greatest food resource and help the community at the same time. Put on the morhom, a traditional farmer’s costume, and join farmers Mr Tong and Mr Tone as they transplant rice sprouts from seabeds in the paddy field. Upon harvesting the rice, the hotel will then distribute it to the local villages and hill tribes.
6. Sponsor student prizes in South Luangwa National Park
Bushcamp Company, Zambia
The Bushcamp Company based in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia encourages its guests to get involved with the local community. The company organises a number of programmes, including setting up an education fund where donations are welcome, starting the Meal-A-Day programme where they provide children with a nutritious lunch, and launching a Commit to Clean Water Fund. Apart from monetary donations, you may also bring gifts for student prizes to encourage students to perform in class. Should you be visiting Mfuwe Lodge between late October and mid-December, look out for the free-roaming family of elephants feasting on the fallen fruits in the lodge grounds.