A project or initiative that strategically and sensitively integrates the local community, aligning itself with the values of the inhabitants and protecting the authenticity of their culture, while enriching the experience of the traveller.See the winners
Sol y Luna - PeruPlaya Viva
What was the objective?To provide a safe and loving home for the children of the Sol y Luna School who have been abandoned or were victims of violence or abuse. This includes lodging, food, clothing, and helping each child develop physically, mentally, emotionally and morally. The aim is for our children and teenagers to feel loved, accepted and respected, as well as having a sense of belonging, by being part of a family.
Describe the implementationTowards the end of 2018 Petit Miribel, owner of Sol y Luna, acquired the building needed and donated the funds she could from the Sol y Luna Hotel. We then launched a GoFundMe Campaign to raise contributions towards food, health services, utilities (water, electricity, gas), cleaning supplies and staff for the house. All essential ingredients for providing a safe and loving home for our children.
What were the results?The Sol y Luna Home opened its doors in Dec 2018. Thanks to £20,000 raised via GoFundMe, and further donations from Hotel Sol y Luna (our luxury hotel opened in 2009 with the purpose of funding the education of some of Peru’s poorest children). 10 years on, as well as educating over 200 children, including 13 disabled students, the Sol y Luna Shelter now provides the loving home they never had.
SONEVA FUSHISoneva Ocean Stewards
For many Maldivians, not knowing how to swim is the norm. Soneva Fushi aimed to create the next generation of Ocean Stewards by teaching children how to swim. Their Soneva Ocean Stewards programme has three focus areas: (1) train swimming instructors on local islands, (2) teach children how to swim, (3) educate children about environmental awareness through activities. So far, they have trained 38 instructors and taught over 300 children how to swim. They have also had 50 children on their five day Soneva Eco Camp (in collaboration with UNDP) and 150 children on their one day Soneva Eco Tours.
Guests swap their current reality for life on a secluded island, under the guidance of the neighbouring Karawara people, in the tropics of Papua New Guinea. Karawara Islanders visit guests daily on Kabakon island, supplying their extensive knowledge, time and rich customs, teaching how to forage, hunt, weave, connect and play. Guests are then left to their own devices until the next visit. The project offers an additional income stream for the local community and re-ignites pride in the continuation of local traditions and cultures.
Bwindi Bar is a practical training institution for disadvantaged youth between 15-26. The aim is to provide practical training and skills to create job opportunities. By engaging our clients with the local community, we ensure that locals benefit directly from tourism. The Café opened in August 2015. VSPT selected ten trainees based on criteria such as survivors of domestic violence, HIV/AIDS orphans and Batwa. The first eight trainees successfully graduated with exemplary results. Two of the students are now in full time employment at nearby lodges. A second group of trainees will be selected for training this year.
Fogo Island Inn
Many luxury properties have a charitable foundation. Our charitable foundation has a luxury property. Fogo Island Inn is a social business that belongs to the community of Fogo Island; all operating surpluses are reinvested in the community through the Shorefast Foundation. In addition to immersing themselves in the natural and cultural heritage of this powerfully elemental place, guests go away with a renewed energy and enthusiasm towards engendering a holistic relationship between financial capital and community. Fogo Island Inn opens the imagination to the possibilities for using business, technology and hospitality as tools to build – and rebuild – our communities.
Wilderness Safaris – Children in the Wilderness
Children in the Wilderness (CITW) is a non-profit organisation supported by Wilderness Safaris, which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation by educating children from rural areas on their natural heritage, thus inspiring them to become custodians of these areas in the future.
This is achieved in a variety of ways: Eco-Mentor Training aims to develop both children and local community members by increasing their environmental understanding and enabling them to better implement school and village environmental projects and initiatives. Throughout the year, Eco-Clubs provide the chance to meet, learn, discuss and expand knowledge of environmental issues. More than 2,000 children have become members of 67 Eco-Clubs throughout Africa.
A selection of Wilderness Safaris’ partner camps are closed to paying guests for a few days each year in order to host three- to five-day educational and fun-filled programmes – including environmental lessons, games, practical sessions, life-skills orientation and wildlife activities – that aim to increase children’s understanding and appreciation of the diversity of natural environments, as well as demonstrating the different career opportunities that exist for them in the ecotourism industry. Since 2001, some 5,000 children in seven southern African countries have participated. The Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES) programme then identifies those children with interest, commitment and potential and helps to prepare them for a possible career in nature conservation.
CITW also extends its involvement to other initiatives aimed at community development – including school feeding schemes, school infrastructure development, access to clean water and scholarships.