ABOUT THIS POST: It’s always great to see travelers giving something back to the communities they visit. Which is why I’m so happy to have teamed up with the Muskoka Foundation: an organization that seeks to create a fleet of such travelers across the world. To help them promote their cause, I invited their founders to write this article.
“The Muskoka Foundation is a non-profit foundation based in the USA. Their vision is to have a world where ethical and responsible traveling is a standard part of every traveler’s itinerary, with the aim that it will create a fleet of intentional explorers that leave a wake of positive change.
The story began with Jay Shapiro and Alice Gugelev, who wanted to combine their passion for overland traveling and for doing good. They realized that many people who love overland traveling are professionals with diverse professional skills. Locals in the places those travelers go to can greatly benefit from their skills.
Transferring Skills From Travelers to Locals
So when they established the Muskoka Foundation, the focus was (and it still is today) the transfer of skills from the travelers to the locals, to help the locals march one step closer to sustainability, in whatever areas it may be.
One of the things that Muskoka believes is respect for one another. Muskoka doesn’t believe that the travelers should think that they are helping the “poor” locals. Muskoka believes that everybody has something to offer to the world. Hence, Muskoka encourages travelers with any skills and knowledge to do good as they go and not to undermine the impact they can have as they go.
Travelers’ Desire to Do Good Around the World
Jay and Alice also realize that despite many travelers’ desire to do good, many of them face lots of discouraging reasons not to do good. Muskoka would like to help as much as they can to eliminate or reduce those reasons.
Some feel like they are ill-prepared or not equipped to do good. Muskoka provides the training and equipment that travelers need to make it happen, at no cost to the travelers.
Some don’t know where to find opportunities to do good. Muskoka has a growing number of partners, and they can connect you with their reliable partners.
Many are turned off by the hefty fees lots of voluntourism organization charge travelers to volunteers. So Muskoka is committed to provide travelers with opportunities to do good at no cost to the travelers.
The opportunities to do good with Muskoka vary from doing “hands-on” volunteering work, developing curricula they can use to conduct workshops, to helping Muskoka find new reliable partners to work with. Whatever it is, Muskoka is willing to provide the training and some equipment to travelers willing to do good as they go.
A growing number of travelers have successfully made a positive impact in many communities world wide. After having trained children how to do basic photography, they took some of the pictures and made them into a calendar. The calendar now is for sale on Muskoka’s website, and all the proceed after the printing and Paypal costs goes back to the communities.”