Travel to Make a Difference
Jun 09, 2015 03:33AM ● Published by Flint Zerangue, Sr.
If exploring new places while making a difference in the lives of locals sounds like a special way to spend a vacation, a new approach to travel may be the perfect getaway for you. Social impact travel allows people to take a meaningful trip that will have a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives in communities of need.
The idea of incorporating a volunteer activity into travel is not a new one, but social impact travel takes this concept to a whole new level with an emphasis on scale and creating a long-term, meaningful difference. And now, Carnival Corporation launched a new brand that addresses the pent up marketplace demand for social impact travel. The brand, fathom, provides travelers the opportunity to work directly with people in unique and sustainable ways to improve their lives and communities.
“fathom will cater to a growing market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and aren’t always sure where to begin,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We believe travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world. We are so pleased that fathom will give travelers a unique opportunity to work alongside local people as part of a larger scale effort that will demonstrably improve lives. Both our travelers and the local citizens will learn and benefit from the opportunity to serve together.”
“We created fathom to meet the real hunger in the world for purpose, while at the same time tackling profound social issues through a sustainable business model,” said Tara Russell, president of fathom. “We harness the assets and resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company and combine them with the talents and hearts of those working in social enterprises around the world.”
Depending on their passions and skills, fathom travelers will have the opportunity to spend the better part of four days working on causes they care about, alongside locals and partner organizations to help their programs have greater impact. Travelers can expect to start the journey with two days at sea preparing for the on-the-ground experience. Preparations will include training for the specific work they will conduct, as well as activities designed to foster a deeper understanding of the community.
A percentage of every dollar from each trip booked will go directly to fathom’s partner organizations in the Dominican Republic. This will provide fathom’s partners with a predictable revenue stream to build upon the work they are already doing in the Dominican Republic.
Although future plans include expansion to additional communities around the world, initially fathom will help people in the Dominican Republic, a country known for its spectacular beauty, but also a country with great needs among its people. Sample activities include:
- Economic Development: Help cultivate cacao plants and organic fertilizer at a nursery and assist a local women’s cooperative in producing artisan chocolates. This activity is designed to produce high-quality plants to increase farmers’ yields through sustainable practices and – importantly – create income opportunities for rural women. Over time, this activity will allow the cooperative to increase their workforce so the cooperative can achieve economic independence.
- Educational: Work side by side with Dominican school teachers in classrooms to teach English skills and help boost students’ academic performance; and participate in adult-learning programs to teach small groups of local community members conversational English to help improve their ability to qualify for jobs that provide a higher level of income.
- Environmental: Provide hands-on support to craft and build water filters – using clay, a natural resource found locally – and deliver those filters to families throughout the community to provide healthy drinking water. With limited piped water supply, this will make a meaningful difference in the quality of people’s lives throughout the region.
Each seven-day round-trip journey on fathom’s Adonia will have the capacity to carry 710 passengers, providing an intimate experience, allowing travelers to be surrounded by friendly, familiar faces all working towards the same goal while on a fathom trip.
To plan your first social impact journey, visit www.fathom.org.