Inspire…Inform…Connect…Celebrating volunteer travel experiences around the world.
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Journeys for Good: Cambodia airs on KQED-TV, San Francisco

December was a busy month here at Journeys for Good as we completed our half-hour program on the Cambodia trip we took with Globe Aware last year. Hope you enjoy the program and please let us know what you think.

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Cambodia volunteer project with Globe Aware

Here’s the latest video in our series from Cambodia with non-profit partner, Globe Aware.  

In this segment, our group digs into a construction project for a local disabled man, Mean Nok.  We are building a ground floor bathroom for him. Before now, Mean has had to crawl into the jungle on his hands to use the bathroom.  In the rainy season, this is especially difficult.

As an interesting side note, cameraman Steve Wynn goes next door to investigate some mysterious chanting sounds and discovers a fascinating Cambodia ceremony.

By working within local communities, volunteer projects like this one afford an immersive cultural experience well beyond the tourist track.

Coming soon….Part 2 of the project.

 

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Reading Village: Upcoming volunteer travel opportunity in Guatemala

Reading Village is a non-profit organization whose mission is to eradicate illiteracy in impoverished communities and empower youth to lead their communities out of poverty. Each year, volunteer travelers have an opportunity to take a Learning Journey into rural Guatemala and to participate hands-on in this transformational work. We are pleased to share this guest post submitted by Kassia Binkowski, the Director of Development and Communications of Reading Village.

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In this day and age, there is no shortage of opportunities to do good. Buy these shoes and we’ll send a pair abroad, purchase fair trade goods and the world will be better, donate to this or that charity and we promise you’ll make a difference. Drill a well, read a book, donate food, build a clinic, save a life. The opportunities are as good as they are endless.

But how often do you get to share a tortilla with the woman whose life you’ve changed? To read a book with the scholar in whose education you’ve invested?

Reading Village - Bringing Literacy to Rural Guatemala

For the past six years, Reading Village has been working to refine an effective model of development that positions communities to thrive under their own resources and creativity. Through education and leadership development, the organization empowers youth to eradicate illiteracy and interrupt the cycle of poverty in their indigenous communities. Time and time again, education is considered to be one of the most effective ways to improve the quality of life in developing countries, and Reading Village’s work is no exception. Where fewer than 10% of students finish high school, our scholars are graduating. Where lack of access to books is the first barrier to literacy, these teens are building libraries that will long outlast our presence.

As the Director of Development and Communications for this small non-profit organization, I was hired to translate these results into donor dollars. The vast majority of my time is spent creating electronic and print materials that convey the impact of our programs to prospective funders who have never left the security of this comfortable life. But the bottom line is: you have to see it to believe it.

That’s why Reading Village leads semi-annual Learning Journeys into rural Guatemala. Bringing together international philanthropists, local staff, and student scholars, the organization has developed a thought provoking experience for international travelers. From exploring colonial towns and Mayan ruins, to contemplating the impact of urbanization and education on rural indigenous communities, the trip has been designed to actively engage current and prospective funders in a conversation about equity, opportunity, and development.

Reading Village - Celebrating Our Learning Journey

For five days our travelers dive full-tilt, whole-heart into our literacy work. With eyes wide open they ride buses, share meals, read stories, meet scholars, greet families, and express gratitude. For five days we ask them to think, feel, act, create, inspire, and be inspired, only to start again at the beginning and think some more. The days are full, the sights hard, the experience thought provoking, and the travel impassioned.

Cultivating donors, engaging action, and inspiring compassion, the Learning Journeys have been designed to be an intense and productive experience. Your heart is thrown wide open, your mind is challenged to understand all we see, and your body endures all the squatting and walking and standing and waiting that is life in Guatemala. In this way, Reading Village aims to close the gap between the have’s and have-nots, between us and them, you and me. When you break open a book and look into the eyes of these kids, I think you’ll agree with me that we’re not so different after all.

Reading Village - Our Scholars

It’s not every day that you get to meet the person whose life you’ve changed; now’s your chance. Join us November 2-9, 2013 for the trip of a lifetime. Registration is open now and spots are first come first serve. Visit our website or email us at learningjourney@readingvillage.org to learn more. Are you ready for the adventure?

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Volunteer travel in Nepal with Edge of Seven

Please enjoy this guest post from Sarah Andrews, Executive Director at Edge of Seven — a very worth volunteer travel organization that we are pleased to feature.

Building Up Girls in Nepal with Edge of Seven

The laughter of students at recess rang across the schoolyard in the small Himalayan village of Phuleli, as Sarala Rai talked of how she spent her childhood there collecting firewood and grass for her family’s animals while dreaming of one day being able to receive an education. Now 16, this dream of Sarala’s is coming true. She is one of the lucky ones able to attend higher secondary school in her district capital. On this recent visit home to her village, she remarked how many of the younger girls she saw before her could be married by the time they were her age.

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At the time of Sarala’s visit home, Edge of Seven was in the process of constructing a secondary school to house students in grades 7 and 8, who currently had a lengthy commute to reach the closest secondary school. Because families in rural Nepal often rely on their daughters to shoulder the responsibilities of most household chores, commute times that take away from time spent working often lead families to keep girls home from school. Edge of Seven’s classrooms, built in the village center, would ensure that more girls in Phuleli were able to receive an education.

Phuleli School Complete

Edge of Seven is an organization that engages volunteers in its mission to create access to education, economic, and health opportunities for girls and women in the developing world. It does this by providing funding and volunteer support for infrastructure projects – like schools, dormitories, and water supplies – that directly benefit girls and women in rural communities.

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For the past three years, Edge of Seven’s efforts have been focused in Nepal, where the organization has completed four school buildings, two community water supplies, and one hostel housing 40 college-bound girls in the Everest Region. Since its founding in 2010, Edge of Seven has helped 455 girls and women attain access to an education, and its projects have directly benefitted close to 900 individuals living in the communities where it works.

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Edge of Seven works with community leaders and local partner organizations in Nepal to identify projects that would provide majority benefits to marginalized girls and women, because numerous girls, like Sarala, who are able to achieve a higher education are better positioned to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty. Studies show that girls who receive seven years or more of education marry later and have fewer children, improving economic and health outcomes for their families.

In engaging volunteers and world travelers in its work, Edge of Seven aims to inspire, educate, and empower others to become part of the movement that has been dubbed “The Girl Effect,” to create social change so that more girls like Sarala can receive an education. To learn more about getting involved with Edge of Seven, visit www.edgeofseven.org.

In October of 2013, Edge of Seven will be running a fundraising trek to Everest Base Camp for individuals looking to combine adventure with social action. All funds raised from the trek will go directly toward Edge of Seven’s educational projects in Nepal. Edge of Seven is also seeking volunteers to join their upcoming school build in the Everest Region this November. For more information, email info@edgeofseven.org

 

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Journeys for Good wins 3 Telly Awards for Cambodia Voluntourism Video

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We are pleased to announce that the Telly Awards has named Bayside Entertainment as a winner in the 34th Annual Telly Awards for Journeys for Good:Cambodia. With nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor.

 For its 34th season, The Telly Awards once again joined forces with YouTube to give the public the power to view and rate videos submitted as part of the People’s Telly Awards. In addition to recognition from the Silver Telly Council, the judging panel that selects the Telly Awards winners, the Internet community helps decide the People’s Telly Awards winners. Your votes made a difference, bringing us a Silver People’s Telly Award for the second year in a row! 

In addition to the People’s Telly, we also won 2 Bronze awards for documentary and editing.

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This is a true passion project for Steve and me, so it feels great to have this recognition as we continue to develop the project for broadcast and the web. 

Thanks again for your continued support. It means so much to us.