Local guides, hosts, porters and their families in some of the most remote corners of the world have seen their livelihoods obliterated this year as a result of the pandemic.
In response, Much Better Adventures is committing a minimum of £10,000 for immediate aid for families identified by our local partners.
We're asking you, our amazing community of global adventurers, can you help us double it?
This relief fund will provide basic essentials like food, supplies and medicines and help develop alternative sources of income. It will be immediately distributed by our local partners in Nepal, Indonesia and Tanzania as these communities need our support straight away. Since launching this appeal we have since committed to supporting additional families in Colombia, Peru and Rwanda. It's likely we'll be adding more projects soon.
A little goes a long way: in Nepal just £25 provides enough food and essentials for one person for an entire month - £100 for a family of 4.
Every penny on top of our £10,000 raised on GoFundMe will help us to support these many families who need us now more than ever.
1) 25 families in Nepal
Our local partners Freedom Adventures employs 25 full-time local guides and porters, and supports young locals to build careers in responsible tourism.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Nepal
Nepal is currently closed to tourism. The government of Nepal has currently stopped issuing on-arrival tourist visas to all nationalities. The direct impact has been felt by the trekking guides, porters and their families who depend entirely on income from adventure tourism. Bear in mind, trekking in Nepal is seasonal and what these hosts and porters earn in-season is typically what they live off for the whole year.
How will the money be spent?
A little goes a long way. £25 provides enough food and essentials for a whole month for one family member - £100 for a family of 4. £2500 would be just enough to support these 25 families for the 4 months that they anticipate needing help.
A word from the ground in Nepal
“These are very difficult times, especially for us in the tourism industry. From our perspective, we also do not think it is going to get much better anytime soon. Most of our clients are from Europe, which was the hardest hit by this virus. We can only go so long without earning an income. We aim to provide for 12 trekking guides, 6 assistant guides and 7 porters and their families. Many of the Freedom staff who work in the field (as a guide, assistance guide or porter) have progressed through the Freedom Social Foundation. This means that they are at very beginning of their career and from the rural area of Nepal, so they are not financially able to sustain their family. From our perspective, helping these individuals is our number one priority, and of course, any assistance will be greatly appreciated.” - Jagan at Freedom Adventures.
2) 80 families in Indonesia
Our local partners Wicked Adventures supports 80 families and indigenous communities in Indonesia through adventure tourism .
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Indonesia
Indonesia is currently closed to tourism. There is no other support provided by the Indonesian government at this time beyond cutting tax obligations. As a result, many businesses have closed and the rebound will likely be slow. Wicked Adventures have had to suspend all operations until later this year with all staff on just partial salaries for the next three months. With depleted cash reserves after July, Indonesian law dictates that all staff contracts will need to be officially terminated.
How will the money be spent?
£4,500 will help the 80 affected families to get food, essential supplies, childcare needs and medicines for a month. Just £40 can support a family of 4 for a month. That's a big bag of rice, noodles, eggs, cooking oil and some basics.
A word from the ground in Indonesia
“We are used to complications and challenges, but not one like this. We have been through tsunamis, bombings, repeated volcanoes, earthquakes, riots and coups. We are resilient… and hopeful. We can and will come back in one form or another. All of us are also passionate about sharing our part of the world. This is also one of the very few sources for income in the remote communities where we operate. With all tourism and all the related income gone all donations will be going directly to supporting those in need with food, supplies, childcare needs and medicines. Our business will rebound, we will find a way but that is a matter for the future. Right now, all our efforts are finding ways to make sure these remote places are supported. The need is far greater than we expected.” - Paul at Wicked Adventures.
3) 20 families in Tanzania
Our local partners Trek2Kili supports 20 local porters and their families and have pioneered ethical tourism in Tanzania to ensure their fair and ethical treatment.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Tanzania
Kilimanjaro porters face the prospect of having no climbers this season. They also do not have access to the types of benefits we in other parts of the world might take for granted: severance, paid leave, unemployment insurance or even healthcare.
How will the money be spent?
Trek2Kili are setting up a sustainable agriculture project to give the 20 local porters an acre of land each to cultivate for their families. The goal is to rent one acre of farmland to produce 25 sacks of maize to eat and to sell which would then support a family for over three months. The setup of all this would be £350 per family and include land rental, tools, maize seeds, fertiliser, pesticides and irrigation facilities.
A word from the ground in Tanzania
“We are feeling for everyone during this unimaginable time in life when the future is so uncertain, particularly for our poor porters. We can help our porters to diversify their income by enabling them to cultivate sustainable crops like maize, beans and sunflower. This project can save 20 families of porters that we have identified are in great need of immediate help. These 20 porters have more than 100 members of those families. Distribution of funds will be made according to the financial status of porters’ family.” - Iza at Trek2Kili.
4) 32 families in Colombia
Our local partners Expedition Colombia have identified 32 families who need help. These families are involved in local guiding, transportation, housing, food and logistics of adventures we run in the country.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Colombia
Nearly 60% of Colombia’s workers, now on full lockdown, are paid cash in hand and usually living day to day. The pandemic has hit the pockets of the country’s most vulnerable and government support has not yet reached these remote communities.
How will the money be spent?
Our local partner will provide relief packages for individual families based on their requirements worth USD$70/month per family, for at least 2 months. Our partners have established a list of remote families most in need of supplies from the city, and asked them what they need most. Supplies required include medicines, fishing supplies, clothes, boots, machetes and batteries.
A word from the ground in Colombia
"We have been hit to a dead stop as many others, and the situation is of course concerning. We put the company on hold, after paying everyone for an extra month and vacation time as well to fully stop operating and bring the fix cost to a minimum to focus more on conservation issues and helping others. It has been very challenging but we are making sure everyone still has enough income to live without grinding on their savings. The situation in Colombia is hard as many people live on a day to day basis and the government has not been offering any help at all. We are on day 39 of full lock-down and a small but growing part of the population is getting hungry. It would be amazing to be able to provide some kind of relief package for the local people who normally work with us in tourism and host / provide logistics for the trip we run together. They are all victims of the civil war in Colombia and tourism was a great source of hope and sustainable income for them, which greatly helped the reconciliation and peace process in the area." - Jules, Expedition Colombia.
5) 20 Families in the Northern Peruvian Andes
Our local partners in Peru have identified 4 Guides, 6 Camp Cooks and 10 Arrieros (Horsemen) who need our support while their main income via adventure tourism has been paused.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Peru
The people who live near the Peruvian mountain ranges in the north of Peru mostly depend on tourism. During the trekking season (mid-April to September), they work as: Guides, Porters, Cooks and Arrieros - the rest of the year they work in their small farms. With the money they earn working in tourism they buy the products that they do not produce and cover the education and health expenses of their families. Due to coronavirus these families are struggling to find alternative income with a national lockdown being in force since mid-March.
How will the money be spent?
The local guides, camp cooks, arrieros and their families are turning to farming after losing their key source of income from tourism. They need money to buy items that they do not cultivate, such as: rice, sugar, oatmeal, oil and salt and other essential supplies. USD$2,000 split among 20 families provides USD$100 per family (of 5 members on average) which can support each for at least one month.
A word from the ground in the north of the Peruvian Andes
“We knew that the tourism field is very sensitive, and it could affect the tourism; but we never imagined it could stop the world. The 2020 season was promising, but from one moment to the next our plans changed. There is a saying that says: that storms do not last forever, we are sure that the good times will return, we will walk again, we will climb new and more summits, this is just a pause; our wish and will to continue taking visitors to the mountains are the same as the last years. Hugs adventurers friends”. - Christian at Go2Andes.
6) 44 Families in the Sacred Valley Region, Cusco, Peru
Our local partners, Action Peru Treks, in Cusco, Peru have identified 308 people from 44 families in need of support following the pause in trekking holidays being run due to COVID-19.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the trekking industry around Machu Picchu, Peru?
Since the borders of Peru were proactively closed on March 16, 2020, there have been zero treks and tours in the Cusco and Sacred Valley region. Travel is booked far in advance for signature treks like the Salkantay Trek. All of the work that porters, guides, horsemen, etc. were counting on to be able to provide for their families has vanished. The high season in Peru is May through October. These months have been completely lost. The earliest that Machu Picchu could open would be October; however, we would not be surprised if there is no tourism at all until 2021. Like everyone else, it is a case of hoping for the best and planning for the worst.
How will the money be spent?
£3493 will support 308 people (44 families with an average household size of 7) for three months. The money will be used to buy and distribute food to the staff. Staff and their families need the following staples: rice, noodles, beans, oil, tuna, milk, and sugar. We are aiming to provide this sustenance for each family to have enough food for three months. Due to the remarkable resourcefulness of these families, a family of seven in the Sacred Valley can subsist on £27 per month. To date, Action Peru Treks has been providing this food but are no longer able to do this.
A word from the ground in the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Peru
“The Peruvian government has been very proactive in the steps they took to combat the coronavirus. We have mandatory curfews and quarantines. In the Cusco region, tourism is the lifeblood of the economy. The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu region provides a living for my staff and their families. With no end in sight to the closure of the country’s border, my staff is doing anything and everything they can to make ends meet. Our head driver is selling wine and Pisco (Peru’s national drink) on the side of the road. Other staff members are working odd construction jobs or trying to do some small farming. Now in the fifth month of this lockdown, the outlook is becoming desperate. These are individuals who are urgent to work, and they are dealing with feelings of shame as well for needing to depend on others to feed their families. I am doing everything I can to help them, but I no longer have the funds to support these 44 families.” - Roxner Cardenas, Action Peru Treks.
Funds lodged with GoFundMe are immediately accessible, so we have been distributing donations as we go.
A massive, massive thank you
If you drop some money into this relief fund, we can't thank you enough.
We know our community spirit is strong: we saw that very recently with people raising thousands of pounds for all sorts of important causes by using our guide to summiting mountains on their staircases. We hope we can lean on your fantastic generosity and citizenship once more.
By helping these families we are also helping to preserve these amazing destinations that we hope we can all go back to sometime soon. These families are the stewards of the wild places we love to visit, and getting them back up and running is vital to supporting local conservation and bio-diversity.
If you’d like any more information about this relief fund, please feel free to contact us.
Thank you so much.
Alex, Sam and Guy and the Much Better team
- James Young
- Matt Russo
- Annette Bindley
Fundraising team: Much Better Adventures (2)
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