Traveling is kind of a selfish thing if you think about it. It benefits no one else but you. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some ways you can give back, for example by making sure your money goes to the local people who need it most, especially in poorer countries.
This page will be a continuously growing list of companies, organizations, or individuals whose services are not only phenomenal, but also benefit those who need it the most. It is a win-win situation for the tourist and the local. The things I promote on this page will be those that I personally have used, enjoyed, and researched to make sure no shady business was involved.
[Added: 2/14/2014] [Location Siem Reap, Cambodia]
Meeting people is easy. Meeting great and awesome people, is… well also surprisingly easy. But meeting people as genuine, kind, and fantastic as Barang is a great rarity. Barang was our tour guide, driver, bodyguard, wing man, alarm clock, and neighborhood friend all rolled into one. He made Angkor my #1 favorite place in the world, and I hope to some day return the favor. If you are looking to visit the wonderful city of Siem Reap and the nearby temples, look no further, Barang is your guy.
2) Vitalise Charity (Guest Post Here)
[Added: 10/15/2013] [Location: United Kingdom and Europe]
When we think of travel, it is easy to say “anyone can do it” and don’t often think about the difficulties people with disabilities have to do things we travelers take for granted. This is where Vitalise comes in.
Vitalise is a British charity devoted to providing short breaks and holidays (respite care) for people with physical disabilities. They operate a number of specialist centres around the UK which help provide accessible holidays and make them as seamless as possible.
If you are interested in contributing a donation, your time by volunteering, or spreading the word, make sure to check out their site or like them on Facebook.
1) Awamaki Organization (Full Article Here)
[Added: 7/17/2013] [Location: Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Peru]
Awamaki was started in 2009 as a program that would benefit the local women of the Patacancha community in rural Peru. The villagers, along with most of the people in the Cusco region are known as the Quechua, the descendants of the people which formed and expanded the great empire of the Inca. These people have depended on weaving as a major source of income and general living for hundreds of years. In modern times, however, the art and lifestyle is dying as modernization is pushing out the old ways.
To put things into perspective, many of the villages in the area still don’t have electricity or running water. In addition, ideas like currency were introduced just 6 years ago! Before 2007, they still used a system of bartering their goods for necessities. Awamaki aims to preserve the local people’s way of live, but at the same time, create opportunities to improve their social and economic situation.
I stumbled upon Awamaki while doing a search for things to do in Ollantaytambo, Peru on Trip Advisor (check out what they have to say). I must say that while I don’t always trust the recommendations, they hit it right on with this one. All of my research and my experience tell me that they are the real deal.