In Pakistan we pride ourselves on working directly with as many local hotels, drivers, guides and cooks as possible, thereby putting money directly into the local community; to put this into perspective, a jeep driver, like Muktar Alam, who earns 30,000 rupees for one trip can with these wages educate two sons for a year and feed his family for 4 months.
We also employ jeep drivers on a revolving basis and different ones in each area to ensure that the money we bring in is distributed evenly.
With the small local guesthouses and homestays we use – Ali Madat’s Eagles Nest in Hunza – the money goes and stays in the villages rather than being siphoned out to rich, down-country hoteliers. And on each part of the trip we employ local guides – like Zafar Iqbal in the Hunza and Yassin Khan in Srinagar – which again places funds directly in the pockets of local families.
With the funds from this journey we also support a number of educational trusts and the earthquake victims on both sides of the Line of Control.
In India we have developed unique relationships with many people, some of whom help us with our tours, others that simply live in the different regions to which we travel and through. In addition we sponsor several projects: In Ladakh the “Ladakh Project” has brought solar lighting to families in the remote Nubra Valley; enabling them to grow and harvest crops and stockpile supplies to get them through the harsh winters. In arid Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, we have implemented tree planting schemes (a hands on experience for some of our trips!) as well as helping directly with the financing of rural village schools. In Calcutta we support the Hope Foundation, an organisation devoted to helping and improving the living conditions of street children by offering education, health services and nutrition and to help give them a better chance in life.
When you take one of our trips, we make a contribution to “Carbon Clear” – an organisation who work with hundreds of organisations to measure their carbon footprint and reduce their carbon emissions.
We also support several NGOs around the world such as the TESFA community project in Ethiopia, A-Cet and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.