Wholesalers

Intrepid ups the fight against orphanage tourism

The Intrepid Group has once again shown it’s not about to shy away from the big issues of the industry, signing a new partnership with child protection charity, Forget Me Not.

Via The Intrepid Foundation, the group has also made a $90,000 donation, reinforcing the company’s commitment to end orphanage tourism and helping to reunite thousands of children with their families.

Last week, in a two part series, we spoke to co-founder and chairman of Intrepid Group, Darrell Wade, about the problems of overtourism and how the industry can help address the issue.

Australian-based charity, Forget Me Not carries out life-changing rescue, recovery and reintegration work, educating rural communities and parents about the dangers of child trafficking and reuniting children with their families in Nepal.

There are 16,886 children living in orphanages in Nepal, yet 80 per cent have at least one parent who could care for them. Many are taken from their home with the promise of a better life, only to be mistreated and abused.

“We believe every child deserves to grow up in a safe and supportive environment,” James Thornton, CEO of the Intrepid Group explained.

“In partnership with organisations like Forget Me Not and Rethink Orphanages, we are actively lobbying the Government to make Australia the first country in the world to declare visits to overseas orphanages as illegal.”

The Intrepid Group has a strong stance on child protection and is playing a leading role as part of an advocacy group that is calling for the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.

The adventure travel company removed visits to orphanages from all itineraries by May 2016 and has been working with child protection experts to educate travellers about the reality and implications of visiting and supporting overseas orphanages.

“We are urging Australian travellers and the industry to end orphanage visits and volunteering overseas. Travellers often think they are helping, but children are not a tourism attraction.

“The best way to help is by supporting organisations that work to keep children with their families – that’s why we have partnered with Forget Me Not,” James Thornton declared.

The $90,000 donation comes from the Namaste Nepal appeal – launched by The Intrepid Foundation following the devastating 2015 Earthquake. The appeal raised over $750,000 in total, and is already helping to rebuild a school, provide skills training for women, support a health post near Everest Basecamp and rebuild the heavily damaged Langtang Trekking route in Nepal.

“With the generous support from The Intrepid Foundation, Forget Me Not will be able to assist with the rescue, rehabilitation and family reunions of children who have been trafficked into orphanages for the purpose of profit,” said Andrea Nave, CEO of Forget Me Not, Australia.

“Together we made it our collective fight to free children and to get them where they belong – back with families, in their villages and in their mountains.” Anju Pun, Country Director of Forget Me Not, Nepal.

Established by the founders of the Intrepid Group in 2002, The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with a way to give back to the communities they visit.

The not-for-profit organisation has raised over $5.6 million and supports more than 100 community based projects and initiatives in areas of healthcare, education, gender equality, human rights, child welfare, sustainable development, environmental conservation and wildlife protection.

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