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The Solar Cooker Project

January 5, 2013

The Solar Cooker Project is a program dedicated to helping refugee women and girls from Sudan living in Chad.

In response to the tragedy of 285,500 men, women and children from Sudan living as refugees in Sudan, the Solar Cooker Project is working to empower women in that community.  Its goal is to provide all refugee camps in Chad with 100% solar cooking.

It operates in 4 refugee camps, with a total of almost 100,000 refugees between them.  So far, more than 50,000 cookers have been first manufactured and then distributed in these camps.

DGT_solar cooker project

Women and girls over the age of 15 are the segment of the refugee population who is trained to solar cook. The women then are able to earn income through manufacturing cookers and training others to use them.

In addition to being an opportunity to generate income for their families, using a solar cooker eliminates the need for women to engage in the dangerous activity of gathering firewood.  Thanks to not needing to participate in wood gathering, the women are able to stay at the camp, where they are safe and not exposed to the risk of violent encounters.

A special thanks to our friends at We Said Go Travel for sharing this Do Good project with us. They and their community raised enough funds to donate solar cookers to 49 families!  To find out how you too can make a difference through the Solar Cooker Project, click here!


Peruvian Hearts

November 21, 2012

Peruvian Hearts is a  nonprofit organization which seeks to end the cycle of poverty by empowering adolescent girls in Peru to transform their lives and become leaders in their communities.

Peruvian Hearts was founded in 2003 with the mission of transforming the lives of orphans and other severely disadvantaged children in Peru via access to nutrition, education and health care.  In addition, the organization promotes the education of young people around the world about the importance of becoming involved in giving back through service and philanthropy.

To carry out their mission, Peruvian Hearts supports a number of projects and programs including the following:

  • Hogar de Niñas:  an orphanage housing 29 girls between the ages of 4 and 17, it is located just outside of Cusco.  Sisters of the Marianitas order from Colombia provide the girls with a loving environment where they can thrive.  The majority of the girls attend private schools and receive additional tutoring in subjects including English, music and math. They also receive vocational training, medical checkups, and dental and eye exams.
  • Peruvian Promise:  a girl’s leadership and empowerment program designed to unlock the potential of each young woman via mentorship, education and service to others.  Participants are young women aged 15 to 17 who have great financial need and have demonstrated academic prowess and a commitment and compassion in service to others.  Graduates of the program are able to apply for full scholarships to continue their education in a local university or vocational institute.
  •  Nutrition for Change: this program provides children with the proper nutrition to be able to concentrate fully in school.  In a country where 18% of the children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition, lunch and a multi-vitamin are particularly important.  Many of the children who participate in the program walk anywhere from 1 to 3 hours each way to school and rely on the lunches as their sole source of  nutrition during the school day.  The Nutrition for Change program operates in several different schools in the Colca Canyon and Sacred Valley region and has resulted in dramatic increases in attendance and improvement in alertness and academic performance.

To learn more about the Peruvian Hearts and how you can get involved, including how you can volunteer in Peru, visit their website here.

Global Sharing Day

November 12, 2012

Wednesday, November 14th is the date for the Greatest Share on Earth – so get ready!

How can you participate? 

Share something of your choosing between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. in your time zone and be part of a world first.  You’ll be joining people across the globe who will be setting the record for the maximum number of people sharing in a single hour.  You can do any (or all) of the following:

  • Register a Global Sharing Day event or sign up to attend one here.
  • Tell the organizers about it so that they can create a record of the impact of the first Greatest Share on Earth here*.
  • Spread the word by posting to Facebook, Twitter (hashtags = #globalsharingday #sharingeconomy ) or other social media channels.

To learn more about Global Sharing Day, visit the site Compare and Share here.  Happy World Sharing Day!

*Just click on the “SHARE” tab.

Volunteer for Hurricane Sandy Relief

November 1, 2012

The effects of  Hurricane Superstorm Sandy continue to be felt by residents of the Northeast.  If you would like to volunteer for ongoing Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Volunteer through NYC Service, an NYC initiative that coordinates volunteers efforts year-round and is stepping in to help coordinate Sandy relief volunteers.  You can also volunteer by sending an email including your name, email address and borough to the following address:
  • Volunteer through the Red Cross:  the organization is looking for volunteers to lend a hand in shelters throughout the Northeast.  Volunteers work 12 hour shifts over multiple days.
  • Volunteer through the Salvation Army: the Salvation Army is providing hydration, nourishment, emotional support and clean up kits in areas including NYC, Atlantic and Hunterdon Counties, Northeast Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia, New Hampshire and Bridgeport, Connecticut.
  • Volunteer through the state in New Jersey: to volunteer, call the emergency response hotline (1-800-JERSEY-7) or send an email to .
  • Volunteer through New York Cares:  volunteers must first attend an orientation and projects include debris removal, park cleanups and the sorting of donated clothing.
  • Volunteer with Food Bank For New York City:  volunteers are critical to filling the gap between the needs of the community and professional emergency response teams.  In particular, volunteers are needed to serve hot meals to their neighbors affected by the storm.

There are also a variety of donation opportunities including:

  • Donate  to the ASPCA:  your donations will support the efforts of the ASPCA staff and responders as they provide on the ground support to animal victims of the storm and families affected by power outages and flooding.
  • Donate to the Salvation Army:  your donations will support on the ground relief efforts including the distribution of food and water, as well as emotional support and counseling.  Visit their site here or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.  You can also donate by text.  Just text the word STORM to 80888, and confirming the donation with the word, “Yes.”
  • Donate to the Red Cross:  your donations will help cover the costs of providing shelter to more than 3,000 people across 9 of the states hit by the storm.  Donate by phone (1-800-733-2767) or text “REDCROSS” to the number 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Donate to the Food Bank For New York City:  Sandy, as is typical of natural disasters, is having a disproportionate effect on citizens with little or no savings.  Your donation will provide them with supplies and food to last them through the emergency.

NBC News

Elephant Nature Foundation

October 19, 2012

“Elephant Nature Foundation is a non-profit organization which advocates and acts on behalf of the rights of Asian elephants in Thailand.”

The Asian elephant is under serious threat of extinction.  Logging, despite being banned, has led to a significant amount of habitat loss.   As few as 500 wild elephants are left.   The roughly 2,000 domesticated elephants, which work in trekking and other subgroups of the tourism industry have a bleak future.

The mission of Elephant Nature Foundation is to save the Asian elephant from extinction and to provide domesticated elephants with a life free of abuse, neglect and hard labor.   Their work encompasses habitat preservation and increased public awareness and education on the humane treatment of elephants.

To accomplish their goals and mission, Elephant Nature Foundation runs a number of projects including the following:

  • Surin Project:  this project, located in the province of Surin in northeastern Thailand,  provides elephant owners with employment opportunities and their elephants with an environment where they can be free from chains.  Without this alternative, many of the elephant owners would have to resort to traveling with their elephants to the larger cities to beg.  Volunteers are key to the ongoing success of this project.
  • Elephant Nature Park:  Nestled in the beautiful Mae Teng Valley, Elephant Nature Park provides over 30 rescued elephants with a home where they can live out the remainder of their lives in dignity and peace.  Visitors have the unique experience of seeing the elephants in their natural surroundings.

Elephant Nature Park

  • Elephant Haven:  located about an hour-and-a-half from Elephant Nature Park, Elephant Haven consists of 100 acres of lush vegetation. It provides a safe jungle retreat, where every week the project’s elephants and volunteers stay overnight.   The location’s remoteness allows the elephants to wander freely in the jungle.
  • Jumbo Express:  this program provides emergency medical care to elephants who would otherwise receive none.  In addition to caring for the elephants, Jumbo Express builds ties with the communities in which the animals live to raise their standard of living. Since it was established in 1995, the program has visited over 100 communities, hill tribe villages and refugee camps.

To learn more about Elephant Nature Foundation, visit their website.  For more information on volunteering with elephants in the Surin Project, click on the link.  For the complete details on how you can get involved, click here.

All images are from the Elephant Nature Foundation Facebook page.

GO International: an Interview with Programs Advisor, Mike Chan

September 11, 2012

The following is an interview with Mike Chan, Programs Advisor for GO International.



Tell us a bit about GO International.

GO International is a Canadian company that works with partner organizations around the world to deliver highly recognized work and travel, teach abroad and volunteer abroad programs.


Your organization offers programs for Canadians interested in volunteering abroad. We’d love to hear more about them.

Located in over 40 countries worldwide, we partner with organizations that provide volunteer options in marine conservation, youth programs, wildlife projects and construction of homes in impoverished areas along with a growing number of other exciting volunteer opportunities.



GO International also offers programs for teaching abroad. Where can one teach, and what is the duration of the programs?

Ranging from 2-24 weeks, our partner Global Vision International offers teaching opportunities in Kenya, India, Fiji, Laos, South Africa, Nepal, Costa Rica and Thailand.


Work and travel abroad are another option for young people to explore the world through GO International. Can you tell us more about these programs?

For Canadians looking to go abroad we offer work and travel programs to Australia, New Zealand and the UK that support individuals in their pursuit to work and travel in a new country. We feel our programs make it easier to live and work in a new country.



Go International also offers programs in Canada: what types are offered?

We offer work and travel (pre and post placement options), volunteer in national parks and animal rescue shelters, internships in specific fields of interest and camp programs.


What personally inspired you to join GO International?

The opportunity to meet international youth and share a passion for travel.


What is your favorite story from the GO International community?

One of our participants went on our program in 2009 for what was only going to be a maximum of 1 year, fell in love with the country and is working at the same location now in a more permanent position as a Human Resource Advisor today.


 GO International has a Network on Tripping, making it easier for members to connect around the world. What do you find most exciting about this Network?

The opportunity for individuals to connect around the world and share their experiences.


Want to learn more about GO International?  You can visit their website , follow them on Facebook and Twitter and check out the GO International Network on Tripping!




Mike was born in Calgary, AB but grew up on Vancouver Island in Victoria, BC Canada. He is the Programs Advisor for GO International and works with participants who are looking for work once they arrive in Canada. He also manages the GO International Outbound program to assist Canadians interested in going abroad. Mike’s background is focused around marketing, where he also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Victoria. He loves sports and particularly enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee throughout the year and is always happy to have a chat with anyone interested in the Vancouver Canucks! Having travelled to parts of Europe, Asia and Central America, Mike also loves to learn about new cultures and is excited to meet people from around the world!

Investours: Providing Travelers with Meaningful Cross-Cultural Interactions in Mexico and Tanzania

August 21, 2012

The following post is by Corrina Jacobs of  Investours, an international non-profit organization that provides travelers in Mexico and Tanzania with meaningul cross-cultural interactions that empower small business owners and directly stimulate local economic growth.

This past March, Lupita, an artisan and resident of Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico, invited a family from Toronto into her home to show them how she crafts her vibrant piñatas. She gave the two young girls materials to make piñata versions of their favorite cartoon characters. Next, they headed to meet Doña Paty and she showed them how she paints bowls in the style of her hometown, Guerrero.

Later, the family visited Mari Chui in her home at the top of a hill overlooking the entire town, and enjoyed a traditional meal of enchiladas and chicken with mole sauce. While the family savored a meal made with recipes passed down for generations, they learned of Mari Chui’s beautiful dream to open a restaurant on the roof of her house called “Buena Vista” (Good View). At the end of the tour, the family left with their hearts as full as their stomachs because their tour fees supported an interest-free loan for Mari Chui. Every tour benefits a different local artisan, and everyone who participates in the Investours program is guaranteed an interest-free loan.

Investours, an international nonprofit organization, facilitates these meaningful cultural experiences for travelers to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Tour groups visit artisans who make a wide range of traditional products like dresses, ceviche, woodcarved sculptures, and jewelry. Through the Investours model, travelers gain an intimate perspective on local culture and daily life, while directly supporting the local economy.

If you plan to visit Tanzania or Mexico, please consider joining us for one of our day tours, or for our extended journey called “Mexico through Its People” in Puerto Vallarta this fall. For regular updates, ‘like’ us on Facebook, visit our website, and e-mail for more information. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, either on the ground or remotely, please e-mail

* Please note this was a guest post and the content was produced entirely by Investours.