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Pupils at Paya Ngoto School, Burma

Charity and philanthropy

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Our charity of the year: WE Charity

Making friends with the local children, Me to We Kenya

We Charity, Borgani, Kenya

WE Charity (formerly Free The Children) works with communities around the world to help them lift themselves out of poverty. Find out more about the fantastic work they do and the rewarding ME to WE experiences you can include on a trip to Kenya, India and Ecuador.

Our previous charity of the year was TUSK, the conservation charity.

Uthando, South Africa

Uthando 'Planters of the Home' project, Cape Town

Founded in 2007, Uthando raises funds for a broad range of community-based projects which support the most vulnerable sectors of society, in some of the most destitute areas of Cape Town.

We’ve supported a number of projects through the charity, including GCU (Greater Commission United). This project aims to keep children from the Cape Flats township off the streets by giving them a safe place to go, providing them with access to sports such as soccer, tutoring, mentorships and school assistance. Similarly, the Amy Biehl Foundation, another Uthando project, aims to empower 5 to 18 year olds by providing education and activities that offer students a healthy alternative to crime, drugs and other negative influences, and unlock their creative talent.

Fiordland Conservation Trust, New Zealand

Breathtaking views on the Milford Track, Fiordland

Milford Track, Fiordland

Situated in the far southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Fiordland National Park is one of the country’s largest draws. While visitor numbers seem small relative to the scale of Milford and Doubtful Sounds, and the park’s scenery (best encountered on multi-day wilderness walks such as the Milford Track and Kepler Track), this is a fragile environment and needs careful management.

Additionally, since European settlers introduced predators such as stoats and rats to the country, there have been ongoing efforts to prevent the decline of native bird species, such as the iconic kiwi.

The Trust works closely with local conservation groups and oversees a wide range of projects. Examples include the Sinbad Sanctuary Project, which aims to protect rare bird, lizard and invertebrate species. The Kepler Backyard Birdsong Project is installing a line of traps to create an area safe from predators, as well as transferring up to 45 little spotted kiwi to Anchor Island, a predator-free haven where the species can also be more accurately monitored.

Collectively, all these projects are vital to keep this World Heritage area pristine for future generations.

If you’d like further information please speak to your New Zealand specialist or visit www.fiordlandconservationtrust.org.nz.

Amigos de Santa Cruz, Guatemala

Comalapa Market, Guatemala

Compala Market near Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Santa Cruz la Laguna is a small Maya community of 6,500 on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. It has no road access and is surrounded by jagged mountains: the only way to get there is by boat.

The community is one of the poorest townships in Guatemala, with illiteracy and malnutrition particularly high. Amigos de Santa Cruz is a small charity established by a group of foreign residents in 1998.

The main focus is on primary and secondary education as a foundation for improving lives generally. Amigos now have a local staff of 20, many educated through the charity.

The education projects provide books and other supplies for the primary school along with a daily nutritional snack for the 400 children. There are also secondary and university scholarships and sex education programmes in place to combat Guatemala’s rate of adolescent pregnancy, the highest in Latin America.

In 2007 CECAP (Centro de Capacitación) was initiated by the community and is supported by Amigos. CECAP offers vocational training which could lead to meaningful work and a more prosperous community. It now offers programmes in sewing, hospitality, computer education, carpentry, welding and foot loom weaving (products are being sold both locally and internationally).

A cafe was opened in 2012, staffed by graduates, and is proving very popular.

The health projects provide the local community with clinical care and an inoculation programme for the children. Guatemala has the highest rate of chronic child malnutrition in Latin America and fourth highest in the world. Amigos has helped to establish women's nutrition centres in four remote villages.

Groups of 50 to 60 women plus their younger children, gather to prepare and receive healthy nutritional meals and vitamins. The mothers are also trained on subjects that include family planning, health and hygiene. Amigos works with a total of 200 women and 200 young children. Women are not only learning to prepare nutritional meals, but also how to establish and maintain sustainable community and family gardens.

Casa Mantay, Peru

Young mothers, Casa Mantay

Young mothers, Casa Mantay

Created in June 2000, Casa Mantay is a safe house for young mothers and pregnant girls, and is currently home to around 50 individuals.

It provides employment to former residents of the house through a workshop which makes high-quality leather goods. This not only allows the girls to learn a skill, it also teaches them the responsibility of having a job and managing their money, while still having the support of the house.

When the girls reach 18, Casa Mantay offers them a self-contained flat within the house as a way of preparing them for life outside. When they eventually depart the house they continue to receive support.

They’re also given their wardrobe, mattress, bed pillow and bed linen to take with them, in return providing replacements for the newest girl who enters the house. Even when the girls have permanently left they’re always given the option of bringing their child back to be cared for.

Running the Casa Mantay house takes a large number of staff and resources –our support helps to pay the wages of a nurse. This nurse works full-time and teaches the young mothers and mothers-to-be how to look after themselves and their babies.

If you’re heading to Peru and visiting Cuzco, you can contribute directly to Casa Mantay by purchasing goods at their shop in the Palacio del Inka hotel. Alternatively, you can donate by speaking to an Audley specialist.

Magic Bus, India

Chettinad, India

Magic Bus helps alleviate child poverty in India

This award-winning charity helps children out of the poverty cycle through education and raising broader awareness around issues such as health. Youth leaders also help them raise their aspirations in society, and older children are supported in career development.

Our funding is directed in two broad areas. Outreach volunteers go into local communities all over India to run sports-based activities with educational undercurrents. The main aim of this is to encourage children who aren’t, currently attending school, to start going regularly.

A major part of this will be educating on hygiene (which can impact school attendance), communication and teamwork skills (which also helps children negotiate with their parents about the importance of them receiving an education).

The donation will also support Magic Bus’s work with the young people who have left school, providing them with essential skills for employment. Post school graduation they receive three months’ further training, including work experience placements. Once the young people have found employment, Magic Bus will further support them for six months so that they can sustain their employment.

To find out more, speak to one of our India specialists or visit www.magicbus.org

Tour Operators for Tigers (TOFT), India

Royal Bengal Tiger,  Ranthambhore National Park

Tiger, Ranthambhore National Park

This travel-industry supported charity helps fund tiger conservation initiatives in India. If your itinerary includes a national park in India we include a £15 (approx. $20) per person donation to TOFT in your trip price. Projects supported have included the Village Wildlife Guardian’s scheme, whereby local people are appointed to report conflict between tigers and farmers, and education of children to help them understand the importance of conservation.

To find out more about TOFT’s work visit www.toftigers.org

The Assafou Association, Morocco

Assafou Foundation School

A Moroccan school funded by the Assafou Association

This association is dedicated to building centres to provide pre-school education, fight illiteracy among rural women and encourage the preservation of rural communities in Morocco. It also helps to ensure that local people benefit from tourism in the Atlas.

Located in Al Haouz, the area of the High Atlas mountains nearest to Marrakesh, the association aims to build at least one school per year in remote villages in the mountains to enable both children and women to gain an education. In a society where traditionally women’s education can be considered unimportant, literacy provides a huge advantage.

Some of the schools also have workshops to help preserve traditional skills, such as embroidery and weaving, and provide the women with extra income.

If you’d like further information, please speak to your specialist or visit www.associationassafou.org

Christina Noble Children's Foundation (CNCF), Mongolia

Traditional Mongolian ger

Traditional Mongolian ger

The Christina Noble Children's Foundation (CNCF) is dedicated to helping children in need with education, medical care, social opportunities and job placement.

Located in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaan Baatar, the foundation conducts outreach work in and around the city, offering housing for poor and single-parent families as well as medical care, shelter and schooling for street children.

The charity’s ‘Sunshine Ger Village’ boasts a number of residential gers (the traditional felt tent of the Mongolian people) and other facilities which serve as a stable home for 60 children and young adults ranging in age from 2 to 24 years old. Each residential ger is staffed by an adopted ger mother, often a single parent herself, who creates a loving home for all of the children within her care.

At school age the children are enrolled alongside their peers at the local district school: learning within the community and gaining vital qualifications for later adult life. Children below school age attend the Foundation’s kindergarten adjacent to the ger village. The kindergarten also serves the wider community and provides invaluable pre-school education to children of local families.

As part of its outreach work in the capital, CNCF also administers the ‘Give a Ger’ fund, an emergency fund established to provide families in danger of becoming homeless with a secure and comfortable place to live.

This has proved an essential lifeline for many in a country which is renowned for its particularly harsh winters where temperatures drop as low as -40C, conditions which often drive whole families beneath the city’s streets as they find refuge in central heating pipes and vents.

To find out more, speak to one of our specialists or visit www.cncf.org/

The Goodwill Centre, Cambodia

Lolei School, nr Roluos Group

The Goodwill Centre helps to provide schooling to Cambodian children

This small, unique project aims to address issues of deprivation through education and life skills training, enabling children to break out of the poverty trap and take control of their future.

With a regular staff of four, it caters for over 160 children and young adults who have limited access to schooling, fresh water and basic sanitation.

The charity encourages participation in a range of activities outside school hours, aiming to keep children off the streets. Classes are offered in English and Khmer literacy, computer studies, basic science, and arts and crafts.

With a strong focus on hygiene, it promotes health, physical education and has its own ambitious soccer team. This safe environment encourages play, teamwork and the development of social skills.

Paya Ngoto School, Burma

Paya Ngotto primary school was rebuilt thanks to donations from Audley Travel clients, staff, friends, and family

Paya Ngoto School, Burma

This school is particularly close to our hearts. Back in May 2008, a number of Audley staff, clients and suppliers decided to raise money to help rebuild Paya Ngoto School in the Irrawaddy Delta, Burma, after it was destroyed by Cyclone Nargis.

This money provided funds for physical improvements to the school, adding a much needed flood defence wall and a raised-level concrete playground. Both were employed to stave off the annual monsoon flood waters and increase the children’s safety.

The school is thriving again and we do occasionally provide support such as the provision of a new water tank.

Grenada School for Special Education

St George's, Grenada

St George's, Grenada

Based in St George’s, the capital of Grenada, the school caters for developmentally delayed students; one of only three schools on this Caribbean island to do so. The children at the school are cognitively delayed, autistic or have Down’s Syndrome or other developmental issues.

The school has 76 children and a staff of 16 including teaching and ancillary staff and is run by its principal, Ms Anne Pierre who was awarded an MBE from the UK in 2012 for her services to education. The school teaches functional academic subjects as well as skills such as woodwork, gardening, home economics, art, craft and sewing and their aim is to prepare the students to be as independent as possible in life.

We’re helping to support the school’s efforts to improve the physical structure and conditions of the school, for example repairing blackboards, painting classrooms and improving the playground equipment. We’re also helping the school to work towards its longer term aim of adding a wing to the school building.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Canada

Great Bear Rainforest (klemtu), Canada

Great Bear Rainforest, Canada

Using a combination of scientific research and strong campaigning, Raincoast is committed to preserving Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest and its wildlife. Despite their size, the rainforest and coastal waters are under threat from interests like oil extraction and logging. Raincoast also campaign strongly against the legalised hunting of grizzly bears in British Colombia.

It has worked hard to build an infrastructure that includes a field station near Bella Bella and The Achiever research vessel. Their ongoing research is essential to the protection and conservation of this beautiful, unique and rugged land.

To find out more about Raincoast’s work visit www.raincoast.org

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