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Exodus launches new foundation with Mount Kilimanjaro documentary

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Exodus Travels has officially unveiled its very own responsible travel initiative, the Exodus Travels Foundation.

Adventure tour operator Exodus Travels has officially unveiled a ground-breaking responsible travel initiative – the Exodus Travels Foundation – that creates community projects around the world, funded in part by the company’s earnings and donations.

“Travel and tourism is one of the biggest industries in the world. We [Exodus Travels] have a huge opportunity to use our worldwide network to promote positive change for both the environment and local communities,” Exodus Travels Australasian territory manager Louisa Day said.

“By shining a light on the projects we’re implementing, we hope we can, if even in some small way, help Australians and New Zealanders make more conscious and sustainable decisions when travelling; from culling single-use plastic on trips, to supporting local tourism and respecting all cultures.”

Image: Supplied by Exodus Travels. Thanks to the Porter Project, an initiative that funds off-season porter schools and scholarships to promising porters, Exodus is giving women the opportunity to succeed, being one of the few tour operators in the world employing women on the trek.
Image: Supplied by Exodus Travels. Thanks to the Porter Project, Exodus is helping women succeed by empowering them to work on Mount Kilimanjaro.

The foundation is an extension of Exodus’ core values, to ensure local communities benefit from tourism in their regions, and to educate and inspire travellers to take responsibility for their impact when they travel.

Highlighting Tuesday night’s launch of the Foundation was the screening of Ngumu, a 22-minute documentary by filmmaker Olly Pemberton. It explores the story of pioneering young female porters on Mount Kilimanjaro, who represent just 18 per cent of the porters on the mountain, through the trekking experience.

“While being a porter on the world’s highest free-standing mountain is hard enough, being a female porter in a heavily male dominated role brings a whole extra set of challenges,” Pemberton said.

“To put it into perspective, Kilimanjaro currently has a workforce made up of only 18 per cent women. Ten years ago, there were none.”

Joining them on the adventure was Team Great Britain Hockey champion and Olympic Gold Medallist, Crista Cullen, who joined the team of porters in carrying a 20 kilogram pack on her head.

Image: Supplied by Exodus Travels. Crista Cullen (2nd from left) joined the porters in traditionally carrying her pack on her head.
Image: Supplied by Exodus Travels. Crista Cullen (2nd from left) joined the porters in traditionally carrying her pack on her head.

Thanks to the Porter Project, an initiative that funds off-season porter schools and scholarships to promising porters, Exodus gave and continues to offer women the opportunity to succeed, being one of the few tour operators in the world employing women on the Mount Kilimanjaro trek.

The Exodus Travels Foundation is home to initiatives built on Exodus’ three guiding principles of empowerment, education and the environment.

Image: Supplied by Exodus Travels.
Image: Supplied by Exodus Travels.

Another of the Foundation’s projects funded by Exodus earnings includes the Inspiration Project, which educates disadvantaged children on their community and culture, and is responsible for distributing reusable sanitary pads in Nepal to promote menstrual hygiene and installing UV water filters to stop the spread of plastic waste in the Himalayas.

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