ADVENTURE WITH PURPOSE
We are a small passionate group with a vision to facilitate and encourage heartfelt experiences that also help those who need it most.
Our retreats offer participants local affordable travel with a difference, consisting of unique adventures that are kind to people and the planet. When you travel with us, you not only get to experience the country firsthand and support the locals, you also have the chance to make a positive impact and improve communities in a meaningful way.
Your trip with the Conscious Traveller is your chance to not only volunteer but to also experience the country which you chose to visit. We select each of our projects based on the needs of the communities to ensure your fundraising efforts prior to the trip have maximum impact and lead to sustainable growth.
HOW WE WORK
FUNDRAISING: After signing up for a trip, you and your fellow conscious travellers raise funds in support of the project. We ask that our Conscious Travellers raise a minimum of $1200 for the cause.
TRAVEL: Spend days immersed in the local community, get to know the locals and spend time volunteering and building the project that you personally supported.
RELAX: Once the project is complete, spend some time relaxing with your new friends and exploring the country. It’s only fair to take a load off, you travelled across the world!
HOW TO FUNDRAISE
As with any community projects, having access to funding that supports the work is an integral part of the operation. By fundraising, you can inspire others to contribute to the project, and challenge yourself to reach a goal of $1200.
Those who contribute towards the project can be assured that 100% of their donation will go towards the nominated charity for your trip, and through your firsthand lived experience you can report back to them the impact of their gifts.
Our preferred crowdfunding platform is Chuffed.org as they have the lowest user fees. Set up your own page, and make it personal. Once you’ve paid the deposit for your trip, you will be sent a welcome email that includes the bank details of the charity you will be supporting, which you can add directly to your fundraising page.
KIDS & COMMUNITY FIRST
There is a growing global issue known as ‘volunteer tourism’ or ‘orphanage tourism’ that exploits kids and orphanages while misusing good will of tourists to make money. Many travel organisations warn against volunteering and connecting with children in impoverished communities, and in most cases we agree.
As a business we do not support orphanage tourism. Studies show that children are better off with their families than in an orphanage. Sadly, this is not always a possibility - South Africa has 1.6 million orphaned children without access to healthcare and mental health support. HIV is systemic and children are abused regularly. The community that we work with supports another way, however.
How are we different?
By following the vision of locals on the ground, we have built a safe and loving support network for children where they are safe, and goodwill is never misused.
Our partner charity, Kindling Foundation, supports the creation of early learning centres and supportive communities that children and people in need can call home. One such community that inspired our work is run by Maria Gaba (‘Mamma Maria’) and her daughter Rebecca - two South African locals who founded the community of Boksburg with a dream of providing a safe haven for children facing abuse, poverty and neglect.
Inspired by Mamma Maria’s dream, Kindling Foundation has helped her bring this dream to life, and through our fundraising and volunteering efforts from big hearted people, we have seen great success for almost a decade, and expanded the model to communities in Haiti also.
Rather than any transactional behaviour, we have become like a family, and each volunteer that visits the communities becomes a part of that family, and are compelled to continue supporting her and her community for many years to come.
Helping families in need
Our work in different communities is inspired by the work carried out by Maria in South Africa – something we now also see replicated in Haiti.
There, children who are found on the street or are turned in by the police because ‘orphanages’ are full often end up at Maria’s home. Maria cares for the children herself, working with social services to reunite them with their family - as you can imagine this is not always easy. In these situations, parents are often abusive or negligent due to additional issues like poverty, illness and addiction.
In these cases, Maria offers the child - and where possible, their families – the support and care needed to overcome issues and break cycles of disadvantage and abuse.
In the nine years we have partnered with Maria and Rebecca, Kindling Foundation has paid for all children and teenagers to attend the best schools in the area, as well as having access to support, food and clothing. The charity has also funded a free counselling centre for the community, run by trained councillors Rebecca, Maria and others.
A fruitful partnership
As our volunteer team only visit our communities once a year, there is very little disruption to their way of life. We ask the community when the best time to visit is, what projects they suggest will have the most meaningful and lasting impact, and strategize our work around those needs. In short, we are there for them, and to be guided by them.
We also organise for medical teams to join us on our trip to Haiti to work with surgeons on the island to provide appropriate healthcare for the community.
We make sure that all volunteers are educated on how to work with and support children, and we ensure the children’s safety is the first priority. Further, the Kindling and Conscious Traveller teams all have appropriate ‘working with children’ qualifications; and all contact with the kids is supervised.
We see time and time again the success of these trips to Haiti and Africa; our teams raise crucial funds which help create sustainable projects and save countless lives.
We stand by what we do and how we do it. We are not in this to make money, we are in this to connect communities, become involved in grassroots issues and create sustainable change, all while enjoying the transformative impact of human connection.
THOUGHTS FROM OUR VOLUNTEERS
"This was a trip of a lifetime – volunteering at a community called Boksburg just outside Johannesburg in South Africa. I had no expectations, only excitement to be going.Meeting everyone especially the children and Maria, I was deeply moved. The underprivileged children showed me that life is still good because they have faith, live in hope, smile every day, love unconditionally and are thankful.It was the most rewarding experience I have ever had. I cried most of the time….life there is raw, it opened my heart"
"The moment I arrived at the crèche in Africa I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy and love. To see and feel a community greet a group of complete strangers with such openness changed something in me. After spending time in this community with the kids, teachers and Maria I knew I was forever changed."