By: Haiting Tan
Inspired by their volunteering experiences in third world countries, Marc and Craig Kielburger established ME to WE. Hoping their friends could venture out of their comfort zones, the brothers established WE Charities to take friends and other youths to volunteer in third world countries while interacting with local citizens. In 1999, the Kielburger brothers founded Leaders Today, the precursor to ME to WE, which ran volunteer trips and leadership camps. The Kielburgers also hope that through their organization, volunteers will reconsider their consumer choices through purchases. The Kielburgers also hope to raise awareness of purchasing recyclable items in order to leave a positive imprint on the planet.
Needing to build a greater international reach, ME to WE is cooperating with The Travel Cooperation. The Travel Corporation CEO Brett Tollman revealed that his company’s seven brands including Trafalgar, Contiki Holidays, Insight Vacations, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Lion World Travel, African Travel, Adventure World and the TreadRight Foundation have partnered with Me To We trips with immersive itineraries to Kenya, Ecuador and India.
“Through our not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation, we have been working to create a positive impact to promote sustainable tourism worldwide, with carefully selected partners and projects and some of the numerous local communities we visit.” said Brett Tollman,” Chief Executive Officer of The Travel Corporation. “Many of our travelers are open to experiencing meaningful travel with unforgettable, moving experiences. We are therefore very excited to be supporting ME to WE’s outstanding immersive volunteer trips, which we will help promote with our 10,000 team members across the globe and with the involvement of our loyal travel partners globally.”
Each ME to WE Trip takes place in a community where ME to WE’s renowned charitable partner puts its 20-year history of holistic, sustainable development to work through its WE Villages program. What makes ME to WE Trips even more world changing is that half of ME to WE’s net profits are donated to its charitable partner—helping travellers make an even bigger impact on the communities they visit. The other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission.
One of ME to WE more prominent trips, travelers can journey to Ecuador. From here they can enjoy a rainforest adventure in the Amazon jungle at ME to WE’s Minga Lodge and join community members to work on a sustainable development project while learning about the indigenous Kichwa culture. They will also be invited to the home of a local shaman to experience a traditional cleansing ceremony and blessing. Through the trip, travelers will study Ecuador’s rich history and examine the country’s economic disparities and human rights struggles. Your exploration of the Amazon will take you to scale the mountains among the clouds and trek the lush jungle in order to understand the world’s climates and its effects on our environment. Your trip is bound to be an exciting, fulfilling and educating adventure.