We are very proud to announce that we are the winners of the Û÷Business With Exceptional DNAÛª Award at The Global Angels 2013, which we accepted last night at The Roundhouse in London.
The Global Angels Award reflects our unwavering commitment to our projects around the world. The overriding ambition behind Camps International was to build a company that balances commercial objectives with philanthropic goals, without compromising the integrity of either one.
Camps is a tour operator by definition but our niche is delivering life enhancing travel experiences for young people across the world. We believe academic success is just one element of what should be a broad education encompassing global perspectives, cultural understanding and development of key life skills, outside the classroom. With this in mind our business objectives are to establish Camps as a world leader in ethical travel. Camps is Û÷for profitÛª, we believe passionately that ethical businesses are the most effective model for delivering sustainable change. The more commercially successful Camps is, the bigger our positive impact on the planet.
Blending our social objectives into our commercial goals has defined the way we operate. We have created a model where these (goals) are inter-dependent and fundamentally flawed unless we are equally successful in delivering both. In simple terms, the projects to which we commit are effectively our product. The infrastructure we have built to deliver our experiences, are located in areas of need and built and staffed by local people. We employ and train hundreds of people in rural areas where there is little or no employment, construct our camps using sustainable materials and shape all our experiences to contribute to community development, wildlife and environmental conservation.
We started with a small camp on the Kenyan coast. Over the first few years we rebuilt the school and attendance soared from 170 to nearly 800. We provided accommodation for teachers, eradicated jiggers (parasitical flea that causes pain and suffering to children), dug water holes, planted cash crops, developed sports facilities, provided desks, books and educational equipment. The camp quickly became a source of local industry through the jobs it provides and small loans have enabled small enterprises to thrive in the community.
The lessons we learned in this first camp provided us with a model, which we have now expanded through a network of camps in Ecuador, Tanzania, Cambodia and Borneo. Projects are specific to the local need but the model remains unchanged. Each camp signs up to a memorandum of understanding with the community establishing a partnership and mutual goals. There are no hand-outs.
Specialist expeditions focusing on healthcare and sports development have provided a vehicle for addressing specific needs. By auditing the impact of our actions annually, we have been able to track improvements in educational performance, reduced incidents of disease and benefits to wildlife.
We have initiated and sustain over 100 projects worldwide and the associated cost cannot always be sustained by the business. We therefore created the Camps Foundation, a registered UK charity with an uncompromising commitment that every penny donated will be spent on projects. The company underwrites all costs, provides accountability for expenditure and sustainability through the thousands of clients who travel with us.
The impact of our philanthropic activities on our business is clear. We have a unique model that makes a measurable and real difference that is clear to our clients. Our business continues to grow rapidly as do our projects. It has enabled us to build a reputation that lives true to our strap line; Û÷ethical journeys ÛÒ without compromiseÛª.