This time nearly 15 years ago, Stuart Rees Jones, our founder and CEO had an idea, a vision for a company that would help to make a significant and genuine impact on the world. One which would help people in some of the poorest communities in the world and protect vulnerable wildlife and habitats.
There was no name for what we do now, back then. In fairness, what we are today still confuses people.
As a social enterprise we are a business; a business however with a conscience and a focus that everything we do must be for the benefit of the communities we work with, wildlife or the environment.
Our key objective is to run projects in partnership with rural communities which bring about solutions to significant challenges they are facing every day.
We bring about real change, with the help of an amazing crew of staff and volunteers.
The projects we run are centred around:
- improving the quality of life for people through healthcare, water supply, sanitation or housing;
- increasing access to education – building, renovating or improving school facilities;
- building stronger communities which thrive together through creating community buildings;
- protecting wildlife through conservation programmes, improving access to water supplies and protection from being poached or wandering into areas which may leave them at risk;
- rebuilding environments through tackling deforestation by planting native trees, creating organic gardens and securing green spaces to enable these environments to thrive.
Our promise is and has always been that we will work in partnership with communities to develop truly life-changing projects. We don’t paint the same classroom over and over again.
Our structure enables us to guarantee that we can continue to run projects and ensure that every project we start, we finish, without compromise.
To ensure we can fund these projects, we run volunteering trips and expeditions ranging from a few days to 3 months to enable volunteers to travel to rural communities in Africa, Asia and South America and dedicate the time they are there to working on these projects. Even though we are not a charity, everything we do is philanthropic, from a charitable heart, so many of our volunteers fundraise for their trips meaning every year a network of thousands are helping to change lives not only now, but long into the future.
Our projects are real and tangible and that helps to constantly demonstrate how one person, working as part of an inspirational team, can bring about significant change.
With so much concern about voluntourism, we are dedicated more than ever to our project work and the real impact these projects, with the support from our volunteers make to the world.
We work in a very different way to other companies and charities. We set up camps where we plan to stay for many years to come – where we can see a long term and tangible difference we can make. We build relationships with community leaders and work with them to ensure what we are doing is always bringing benefit to their communities.
We recruit locally to manage these camps, meaning we have a truly global family. It also means we are constantly investing in these local communities ourselves. We buy as much as possible locally, supporting local companies and tradespeople. For tasks which require skilled tradespeople we employ locally. The knock-on impact of these decisions means thousands of people in the surrounding areas are benefiting – we call this our Camps Effect – the wider ripples that our camps, our projects and our volunteers have.
We launched in Kenya in 2003 and then expanded to Tanzania, Borneo, Cambodia, Ecuador, Uganda, Peru, Malawi and in 2018 we start working in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Since we launched over 22,000 volunteers have travelled with us, completing over 80,000 weeks of volunteering and helping to positively impact on over 100,000 lives.
As we look ahead, there is so much more we want to achieve, so many projects we have identified which will continue to transform lives and futures.
To see how you, your university, school or college can get involved in one of our life-changing volunteering trips or expeditions, request a brochure.