Exodus Travels today announces the launch of its new charitable venture, The Exodus Travels Foundation. Established to support causes around the world, the Exodus Travels Foundation will seek to harness the power of travel to create meaningful, sustainable change, have a positive impact on communities and environments, and educate customers to lead the way for travelling responsibly.
The Exodus Travels Foundation has set a goal of raising £500,000 over the next three years to support local causes and communities across the globe, half of which is to be directly donated from the tour operator. Beneficiaries of the foundation will be identified by Exodus using its local contacts and to date include:
– The Inspiration Project: Since the Inspiration Project began in 2017, Exodus Travels has sponsored more than 4,500 children on 143 inspirational day trips in 29 countries. Each trip is designed to introduce young minds to the wonders of our world and their place in it. Each outing is accompanied by an Exodus leader who volunteers their time, knowledge and passion for their own country to inspire a new generation to feel proud of where they’re from – and galvanised to protect it.
– Maa Trust: Supporting a rural community on the fringe of the Masai Mara, the Maa Trust is a small charity working to build a rainwater collection point in the centre of the village which will collect enough clean water to ensure each of the 1200 residents have access to nearly 6 litres of clean, safe water daily.
– The Porter Project: In Tanzania, Exodus supports its porters through sponsorship programmes in the form of first aid courses, English tuition and guide school. In 2019 there are 2 more female porters about to embark on the Mweka Guide Certification Course.
In Peru, a porter’s permit does not extend to Machu Picchu itself, and so the Exodus Travels Foundation pioneered a project to ensure that every one of its porters has the opportunity to visit this area of cultural importance. In 2019, the last of the Exodus porters will see Machu Picchu and have a tour of the site in their native Quechuan language.
“We’re delighted to announce this exciting new chapter in our commitment to the world we love to travel. A natural step forward, it brings together all the projects we have already been contributing towards and allows us to focus on distributing funds in the most efficient way possible,” says Peter Burrell, chairman of the Exodus Travels Foundation. “Each of our projects clearly aligns with at least one of our three pillars of education, empowerment and environment. The Exodus Travels Foundation will be the cornerstone of Exodus’ commitment to ethical practice, fair treatment, and low environmental impact.”
Joining the board of trustees is Team GB Hockey champion and Olympic Gold Medallist, Crista Cullen. Crista, who has Kenyan heritage and speaks Swahili, trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro with a team of female porters to see first-hand why the porter project is making such a difference to their lives. To understand exactly what these women do each day and to experience life as a female porter, Crista completed the challenge carrying a 20kg bag on her head, and a small rucksack on her back, as the locals do.
“I was excited to be offered a great opportunity to put myself out of my comfort zone and into an environment where I felt personally both mentally and physically challenged. It was exciting to be a part of a female team breaking down gender barriers and proving that the only thing that really matters is resilience.” Says Crista. “Charitable work has always been close to my heart and I feel I have a responsibility to bring attention to causes that help women to reach a better equilibrium, especially in Africa. The Exodus Travels Foundation is a great vehicle to bring better standards of living to hardworking women in Tanzania and it is our hope, even beyond.”
Crista co-created a short film to raise awareness of female porters in Tanzania and the work the Exodus Travels Foundation is doing to help women in Tanzania gain more independence.
The foundation is a registered charity, meaning that donations from UK taxpayers will also benefit from gift aid. All operational costs of the foundation will be funded by Exodus Travels’ London headquarters, meaning 100% of donations and fundraising is spent exclusively on the projects – never on the admin.
Find out more at exodus.co.uk/foundation
Registered Charity Number 1182265.