Travel has the potential to change the world for the better. We aim to create a positive impact in every destination we visit, socially, economically and environmentally.
We are committed to ensuring our trips are not only amazing, fun experiences for our travellers, but also for the local people and communities where our trips go.
We encourage all travellers to build meaningful relationships with local communities, understand the local cultures in which you find yourself and respect different ways of life from our own. Along with supporting the communities in which we are privileged to visit, protecting and preserving our natural environment including the animals and wildlife that live within it are essential.
By minimising our footprint, striving for sustainability and supporting various environmental causes on our trips, we hope to leave the world a better place than we found it.
Below are some of the many initiatives and local projects that Gap 360 and our local partners support. You can get involved in these projects whilst on some of our trips too. Click on the individual projects for more details about the initiatives and which trips visit them!
Location - Koh Phangan, Thailand
Established in 2010, this local charity in Koh Phangan works with mentally handicapped and disadvantaged children in varius ways. CCC regularly runs numerous events to raise funds to support children in need. They endeavour to form a strong link between people who are in need of help, and those who are able to help. During our trips, if you have any old clothes, spare toiletries or unused change this can be donated to the many good causes Charlie's Children's charity does.
Location - Midigama, Sri Lanka
During our Sri Lanka Intro tour, the group spent some time at a Buddhist Monastic school for children, also known as a Pirivena. During this time, travellers will learn about life as a young trainee monk and help the children learn and improve their English skills. All monies spent on this section of the trip goes towards the development and maintenance of the school and assisting the students in their studies.
Location - Lovina, Bali
Gede and his amazing family own a small coffee plantation and farm in the northern area of Bali. Travellers can visit his family farm as part of our tour and learn from Gede and his family about traditional coffee production, basket weaving and other ways that local Balinese people earn a living. By supporting Gede and his family, the local community benefit from extra tourist income and more job opportunities.
Location - Rungfah, Khao Sok, Thailand
Travellers have the opportunity to support a locally founded and run sustainable farm, created by the brilliant Mr You. His farm promotes a back to basics farming method where eco friendly living, sustainable practices and self sufficiency are key. The homestay was built by hand and runs off solar power. All crops are fertilised with eco-friendly fertiliser too. All funds paid to Mr You help support his young family and the upkeep of this amazing farm.
Location - Mekong Delta island, Vietnam
Mr Op has lived on a small island in the Mekong Delta with his family and has lived in a few small bungalows. By joining up with our tours, Mr Op has created a cultural exchange experience whereby young travellers can learn about the realities of local life in rural the Mekong, and his family can develop their English skills and earn a higher income from our group visits. Mr Op has been able to build enough bungalows so groups can stay with him and his family overnight.
Location - Sieam Reap Province, Cambodia
The rural villages surrounding Siem Reap are some of the countries poorest areas, despite the tourist attraction of Angkor Wat being close by. Many families cannot afford basic school equipment or uniforms for their kids, however with the generous help of travellers donations means that we are working hard to change this for many of the village families.
There are estimated to be between 2-6 million unexploded landmines remaining in Cambodia today. Between 1979 and 2017 there were nearly 20,000 people killed by landmines and a further 45,000 injured. Due to drastic mine clearing efforts by the government and many international organisations, that figure has been reduced to around 100 per year - a huge decline! APOPO is a Belgian NGO based in Siem Reap that trains African punched rats to detect bombs and mines so they can be safely cleared. Our local team has supported this effort by adopting and sponsoring Magawa the rat who helps save thousands of lives. Once cleared, the land can also then be used again for farming or to generate income for the local people.
Eden Reforestation Projects (Eden) reduces extreme poverty and restores healthy forests by employing local people to plant millions of trees every year. By hiring local villagers in Nepal, Haiti, Indonesia and more, the Eden Project can restore animal habitats, as well as replant forests and reduce poverty. For each bookings received for an applicable trip (click to see which trips) 10 trees will be planted.
Ecologi is a company that helps people and other companies reduce their carbon footprint by planting trees in various countries around the world. By booking applicable trips with us, our local team contirbute to trees being planted in Madagascar and Mozambique. Your booking also contributes to hydropower (clean) energy in Kangugu, Uganda and preserving natural ecosystems off the coast of Guatemala. So far over 1200 trees have been planted (that has offset over 50 tonnes of carbon) and this will continue to increase!
One Tree Planted is a non-profit organisation that is focussed on global reforestation and helping anyone help the environment by planting trees. Planting trees creates a healthier climate, protects biodiversity and helps create jobs in the areas trees are planted. In 2020 alone, over 10 million trees were planted! Click onto this page to find out which trips are partnered with One Tree Planted.
Location - Luang Prabang, Laos
Big Brother Mouse is a Laos-based and Laos-owned organisation which has been helping young people of all ages develop their math, language and reading skills. The students range from 3 to 23 and play games, develop strategic thinking and teamwork skills in a variety of educational activities. Many children had not seen any books except text books before, and were unaware that reading can be fun. Big Brother Mouse writes brand new books in the Lao language and distributes them to schools around Northern Laos at "book parties" which get children excited about learning to read. Our travellers can stop by the Big Brother Mouse office in Luang Prabang and help local students in informal conversation classes to help improve their English reading, speaking and confidence too.
Location - Various locations
As many of our travellers journey to some of the world's best beaches and get to experience their beauty, it seems only right that regular beach clean ups feature on our trips. As well as impromptu clean ups with our groups, our local teams also work with local organisations such as Trash Hero in Thailand and Gili Eco Trust in Indonesia to support the efforts of keeping our oceans clean for our marine life.
Location - Cape Town, South Africa
Working in the Dunoon Township and farming settlements in the Blaubery area of Cape Town, SAVE's aim is to create sustainable development projects to alleviate poverty.
SAVE does a lot of work in these communities such as:
Running 3 education centres for 75 pre-school children
Supports a school for disabled children with donations and volunteers
Runs an surfing after school club to encourage children to attend classes
Provides micro-loans and teaches business skills for people to start small businesses
Provides food and clothing to the poorest in the community
During some of our multi-country Africa trips, you can donate your sleeping bags, clothing or pillows which will be donated to young families in desperate need as they live in bitterly cold, unheated shacks with no electricity. A good quality sleeping bag could be the difference between life and death for a small child in winter.
Location - Budapest, Hungary
Founded in 2005, the Nem Adom Fel (which means I never give up) aims to empower those who are differently abled in Hungary. Their main project is the Nem Adom Fel cafe and bar which is run and operated by staff from differently abled backgrounds. Funds from the cafe are channeled into the organisations work to advocate for Hungarians living with disabilities and those within the Roma communities. Our travellers can stop for lunch at the cafe and eat delicious food. Funding provided by the local team also helped upgrade the restaurants operations and marketing activities, as well as provided English lessons for the staff, so they could better interact with international customers.
Location - Ban Pak Ngum and Ban Huay Tom, Laos
The aim of this project is to increase employment and income in these rural areas whilst sharing and preserving the unique culture. Income from this project is used to create sustainable future growth as well as helping many families send their kids to school.
A training programme was created with the help of The Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute and Travel Travel Laos, to help the local people from the Laos, Khmu and Hmong communities bring tourism to their area along the Mekong river for the first time. Training was given in hygiene and food preparation, developing tourism products and skill building in order to secure a steady flow of travellers looking for a meaningful cultural experience.
Location - Cascais, Portugal
The once violent and notorious neighbourhood of Bairro da Torre in Cascais had a bad reputation and many of the citizens struggled with poverty and perceptions of their home town. However the youth of Barrio da Torre have come together with the aim of improving the area through art. Partnering with the charity ImpacTrip, local young artists turn the grey damaged buildings (often with xenophobic or racist graffiti) into scenes of colour and positivity which represents the culture and personal experience of people from the area. Our travellers can take a tour with a local guide who will share the stories of the transformation of the neighbourhood with the many amazing murals on the large walls where these young people can make their voices heard.
Location - Golden Circle, Iceland
As part of our Golden Circle trip, travellers have the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint by planting 5 trees in the Haukadalur Valley. You will also have the opportunity to learn about the eco-friendly practices and why reforestation is so important.
Panauti has been neglected as a tourist destination, and as such many members of the community have made the decisions to move away for education and employment opportunities. Tourism is now being encouraged as a way to bring new opportunities to the community, especially for women and youth, and as a way to generate income.
This community homestay provides an opportunity for the women of Panauti to take on more responsibility within the community. The homestay programme provides these women with an income which enables them to contribute to household expenses. Funds raised from the homestays have gone towards community projects such as educational scholarships, and community sanitation training. There are now 20 women in Panauti working as homestay hosts.
Location - Monduli, Tanzania
With unemployment at over 10% in Tanzania, the Mto wa Mbu Cultural Tourism Enterprise is an innovative community project that celebrates local culture and provides much needed employment and income, whilst at the same time protecting valuable wildlife and resouces. The initiative provides meals and handicrafts for sale as well as cultural experiences including bike tours of the area.
Funds generated from the initiative are pumped back into the community in infrastructure such as sanitation and local schools.
Location - New Delhi, India
Partnered with Salaam Baalak Trust, which is an organisation that provides safe housing, education and counselling to over 5000 children in Delhi, this city tour is a tour with a difference. It is led by the youth of the city and gives travellers a fresh perspective on life in Delhi.
Funds generated by the city tour are used to finance scholarships and employment opportunities for struggling youth. Guides are fully trained with new skills and also have the benefit of boosting their self-confidence.
Location - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Our local team has worked with New Hope Outrach Centre. New Hope does a lot of work with young Khmers and their families in the Siem Reap region, ranging from training and education, providing fresh clean water and free medical check ups.
Since 2010, with over $60,000 funds raised, a restaurant was built in Siem Reap to train young adults who are interested in working in the hospitality industry. The 6 month long training programmes also helps students find paid full-time job placements after the training ends. Over 1000 students have gone on to fulfiling jobs in the industry.
Travellers can visit the training restaurant and eat a delicious meals there. Funds from the experience go back into the restaurant and training programme.
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