Gate 1 Travel recognizes that in many of our more remote, rural destinations, severe economic disadvantage can make access to even the most basic of resources, a monumental challenge for local families. That is why, in 2012, we established the Gate 1 Foundation, our vehicle for giving back. Believing that education is the most essential component of a child’s journey to a successful, thriving adult life, the Gate 1 Foundation’s mission is to support local primary schools situated in some of the poorest locales on our tour routes around the world. Our efforts focus primarily on the building of permanent structures that can be utilized year after year by each incoming class. By investing in things that stand the test of time, we hope to ensure universal improvement in quality of life for all students who attend each school, long into the future.
Most of the students who attend Foundation schools face financial hardship, a lack of basic supplies, and buildings and facilities that are often inadequate, ill equipped or in disrepair. Because the governments in most of these locations only partially fund schools (if at all), and the poverty of the local residents prevents them from filling in the gaps, the Foundation has stepped up to provide what is most needed: repair and rebuilding of classrooms; infrastructure improvements; installation of water tanks, kitchens, playgrounds and gym facilities. Gate 1’s regional staff reaches out to the communities it serves on an ongoing basis, identifying schools in need of support, and working with school officials to determine which projects will best and most directly impact the lives of their children. It is our hope that as the learning environment improves, so do the chances for successful, happy lives!
Through the work of the Foundation, it is our goal to provide our travelers the opportunity to discover, learn and make a bit of a difference in these communities, which so greatly enrich us in return. In a program exclusive to Gate 1, we arrange for our tour passengers to visit our Foundation schools, where they are able to meet and interact with students and teachers. By giving visitors the option to bring along small items to donate to the students in need, the Gate 1 Foundation is able to supplement its giving, while at the same time, providing travelers with a quite meaningful experience. Tour guests leave with a profound satisfaction that, by virtue of participating in this shared cultural connection, they have formed a bond and made a valuable contribution to the lives and education of these children. Many guests are visibly moved, witnessing for themselves the students’ reactions to receiving gifts passengers have transported and delivered personally.
Whatever your reasons for travel, we can all agree that having the opportunity to immerse ourselves in other cultures and be welcomed into communities around the world is a privilege and a gift. When we connect with the world’s peoples and children, we begin to understand and appreciate not only the value of our rich diversity, but also the many commonalities we share as humans, no matter where on the globe we reside. For this knowledge, we are enriched and enlightened in ways that forever change our lives for the better.