Supporting Local Schools

by Jul 17, 2017Community Projects, OLA Giving Back0 comments

Mahatma Gandhi once said “by education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man; body, mind and spirit”. Education is crucial; children are quite literally the future. With each generation comes a huge shift in the way we live our lives, when children grow up they can not only become pioneering scientists and world leaders but also just the next group of humans choosing ways to live their lives in ways that can either improve or continue destroying the environment around us. All kids should have equal access to education and as such the opportunity to be what they dream of when they grow up.

When we first started out, we weren’t sure how it was we were going to be able to contribute to the communities we travelled through more than we already were. Then we started visiting our first school, in a remote location just outside of Port Barton, Philippines. We found ourselves with this unimaginable opportunity to not only bring along school supplies and playing equipment, but also able to directly donate to help support them. In the years since, as we’ve quadrupled the number of tours we run, we’ve spread out to 4 different schools in remote island locations in this Filipino province. Since we’ve expanded into Sri Lanka and Indonesia, our local guides have been instrumental in organizing school visits in both locations so we can do the same there.

Not only do our monetary donations help to provide food at school and generally contribute to the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings, but we’ve been able to work on projects and see massive improvements as a direct result. One of the biggest improvements we get to see is general infrastructure of the schools, from building new walkways for the kids to access the schools to building important new structures for shelter from the heat during gym/recess. We’ve seen infrastructure improvements, solar panels purchased and the local town’s kindergarten assisted too. We’ve even seen an entire volunteer run daycare centre rebuilt from the ground up, completely repurposed to much better serve the kids that benefit from it.  

The chances we get to visit our local schools provide an incredible opportunity for cultural exchange – we’ve taught English alongside brand new games and songs, brought much needed school supplies and provided playing equipment like basketballs and skipping ropes but perhaps most importantly, they provide a unique opportunity to donate funds directly to a community that needs it. It’s very easy when we’re at home and not travelling to donate money to funds behind images you see on TV or online, but to visit the community yourself and see where your money is going is so important. Your tourism will literally change lives.

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