Happy New Year! Now is the time when we all start to think about holidays and getting away from the cold weather and grey skies in search of the sun. Perhaps this year you would like to try a holiday of a different kind by becoming a philanthropic traveller or volunteer. This is how my journey started with The Butterfly Tree. I first visited Zambia in February 2006 on an organised trip, which included boat rides on the mighty Zambezi River, micro-lighting over the spectacular Victoria Falls and exhilerating safaris through the African bush. Little did I know that something as simple as visiting a rural village would turn into a life-changing experience.
Many people are unaware that just a few miles from exotic hotels, such as the Royal Livingstone Hotel situated in one of the most stunning locations in Africa, live some of the poorest people on the planet. My visit to Mukuni Village left such an impression that I have spent the past five years raising funds and awareness in an attempt to improve the health and education of thousands of HIV and AIDS orphans in Zambia.
A trip to Mukuni, although very moving, can be fun and rewarding. The people are humble and friendly and go about the daily chores in a dignified manner. Numerous tourists, after visiting the village, have contacted The Butterfly Tree and donated to one of our local projects or sponsor an orphan. Some of these travellers have returned as volunteers for The Butterfly Tree, where they have had the opportunity to teach at the school, assist at the clinic or work on one of the building projects. We do not run a volunteer organisation as such, therefore travel and accommodation arrangements have to be made by the participant. The charity can give advice on what is available and which projects to work with. Whether it’s just a visit to the village for a couple of hours or a stay of several weeks, becoming a philanthropic traveller or a volunteer can have mutual benefits for all parties concerned. Without exception everyone who has been involved longs to return.
If you like further information on philanthropic travel or volunteering please contact email@example.com
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I am saddened to announce that Shaun Crystal, one of the singers who donated his time and expertise for our charity song, ‘Change for the Better’ passed away in December. His memory will live on in his great music.