As our ethos suggests, we feel it's important for companies to try and do their bit to help make the world a better place. Here are some of the partners and charities we have worked with over the years.
At TruTravels we believe that the travel industry has the potential to change the world for the better. Our vision is to unite people, companies and charities from all over the world, with the common goal of reducing the current global equality divide, whilst showing our travellers the most amazing, life-changing experiences during their time with us.
So with that in mind, when our legendary Group Leader Mickey suggested going up to a village in a very remote part of Thailand near the Burmese border and donating time and money at a very underfunded school in the area, we thought, why not? It’s certainly something different, and who knows, if we all put some effort into it we might really be able to make a difference and improve the lives of the kids and their families a bit. When we put the idea out to the team, almost immediately we had 45 members of the TruFam asking if they could be put on the list for the volunteer trip. aring in mind there is only about 60 of us in Asia, and some of the guys had already planned to go home and visit family over xmas. This is a pretty good response rate and shows just how awesome and kind spirited the TruFam is.
Check out the blog to see exactly what we got up to.
You have probably all heard about the devastating earthquakes which occured earlier this year which destroyed many homes and communities. As our tours pass through this area and we have made lots of dear friends in the villages, we decided to create a gofundme page to try and raise enough money to provide supplies such as food, water and equipment needed to rebuild their homes before the rainy season comes. Whatever is raised, we will match and so far that is almost £4000 which is incredible. So please donate! To find out more, you can check out our blog here for the latest updates.
This initiative started by Mad Monkey Hostels and The Cambodian Buddhist Association for Vulnerable children is doing a fantastic job of building wells in Rural Cambodia for villages and families who otherwise would not have access to clean water. When we found out that it only costs $230 to build a well which gives 50 people a clean water supply, we decided that we had to help. Think about it, most of us can use a bit of plastic to withdraw more than this from an ATM at almost any time and there are many people in the very countries we travel through who need but can not raise this amount of money to provide their children with water!! For every group of 10+ members that we run in Cambodia we will donate the money to build a new well. This means if we are running 3 groups of 10+ per month, we will build 36 wells which will provide water to 1800 people, that’s pretty cool. Here’s a link to San Van, the president of CBAVC, a Buddhist Monk and all round top bloke, explaining a bit more about what they do.
Each year approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the worlds oceans, and around 60% of this is apparently down to 5 countries in Asia (Vietnam, China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Phillipines). Now, this is not to say that they waste more per person than western countries, they don’t (it’s far less), the main problem here is that the waste management infrastructure of these countries can not keep up with the rapid development and subsequent increase in plastic usage. They also have large coast lines so plastic waste usually doesn’t need to travel far to reach the sea.
When we discovered this statistic at around the same time we saw this video online, we decided that we needed to try and help do something about it.
What we propose is that (for a start) we all start using reusable (metal/bamboo/glass) or disposable paper straws instead of throw away plastic ones, with the eventual aim of getting the rest of the island to do the same. They are already easily and inexpensively obtainable so this is not an overly optimistic goal. All we need to do is convince as many businesses as possible to switch. The more people that do it the cheaper it will be as we can make joint bulk orders. When the amount we can order brings the price down to the same as normal plastic straws then there will be no reason why everyone would not switch over. Once whoever imports plastic straws to the island realizes that no one is buying them, they will stop selling them and will have no choice but to sell what everyone is buying. Once the big and small stores across the island stock bio straws and not plastic ones, our 1st mission will be accomplished and we would no longer have to import them ourselves. That is the beauty of supply and demand and the way the ultimate power of change lies with us as the consumers.
We have also been selling Trash Hero refillable bottles to our customers and starting to implement refill stations in hostels and hotels we use on tour in the hope this will eventually illiminate the excessive use of plastic water bottles.
Join us in our mission and do your bit to save our beautiful planet!
Trash Hero are a cool organisation who aim to keep the world clean for future generations through a number of sustainable initiatives (or just picking up rubbish). They have chapters all over the world and as we agree whole heartedly with what they are doing, we try and link up with chapters in Thailand to take part in organised beach cleans with our groups. Most noteably in Koh Tao. We also occasionally arrange our own post full moon beach cleans with our groups (when Haad Rin beach needs it the most) and more recently have taken part in pre full moon beach cleans in Haad Rin. These are organised by none other than Leo Beer. Here’s a link to an article written by The Phanganist about the Leo beach clean where they interviewed one of the team.
Phangan Animal Care for Strays is a charity based on our home island of Koh Phangan and as animal lovers, one that is close to our hearts. They do a fantastic job of controlling the population of stray animals on the island and also tending to any that are in need of medical care and a bit of love. However, the sheer number of strays means that it is a very difficult task and their resources are spread very thin already. We try and help them out by donating funds and supplying volunteers as well as arranging fund raising events at our hostel on the island. Here’s a little blog and video we did when we went to visit.
Whilst running tours in Cambodia, we happened to stumble across a lovely Tuk Tuk driver residing in Siem Reap by the name of TT. After taking a few of our groups on their sunrise tour of Angkor Wat, we got chatting with TT and learned his story. We were so moved by this genuinely nice and hard working man that we started a crowd funding page to raise money to buy TT a new Tuk Tuk so he can make some money to send himself to university and help his family instead of spending his meager earnings fixing his current one all the time. Here’s a link to a blog written by Luke, one of our epic past TruCrew members which goes into more detail about the scheme and how you can help. TT now has his brand new bike and tuk tuk!
Since we started we have insisted that every male in the company ditches his razor and dons a magnificent mo for the month, in an attempt to raise money and awareness for testicular cancer charities such as our pals at Ball Boys. We also donate a % of every booking fee we take in November in addition to anything we can raise for growing silly facial hair. Here’s a link to their site and here’s a blog we wrote about it last year with a few snaps of the team mo’s.
With many of the team hailing from London, this is also a cause that resonates with us. In a country as rich as England and a city a well off as London, it is absolutely unbelievable that homelessness not only still exists but is becoming more of a problem. We hate it and whilst we can’t yet afford to help everyone living on the streets of England’s capital, we can make a difference to this small charity project started by a good friend of ours who spends many hours of her own time every November and December to raise money and buy gifts and essentials for those less fortunate. It won’t end the problem on its own but it can help put a smile on a few peoples faces and it may help raise awareness and help spur more people on to do what they can to put an end to this unacceptable plight that many face. Here’s a link to their Facebook page from last year, and our blog about how we got involved by donating and running a competition to incentivise donations.