Kaya Responsible Travel Team Unite in Tacloban, Philippines
It isn’t often that as a full team Kaya get the privilege of visiting the projects that we work with. But to celebrate ten years of Kaya Responsible Travel – we had to do something special. And what could be more special than stepping away from our desks, and humbling ourselves by witnessing first-hand the work being done by our volunteers and interns on the ground.
With offices in the US, UK, Ecuador, and the Philippines – we are a global company, with a global mission. Ten years ago Kaya Responsible Travel was founded in Tacloban, capital city of the Eastern Visayas, Philippines. Ten years on, and with each year that has passed, our alumni of hard-working and selfless volunteers and interns has grown exponentially. We are nothing without them.
The number of projects we work with has grown to a staggering 206 projects in 32 countries – with those numbers rising all the time. But as our founding country, the Philippines has a very special place in our hearts.
In November 2013, South East Asia was struck by Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda. The Philippines was one of the worst affected areas, with 6,300 fatalities across the country, nearly 6,000 of which were located in the Eastern Visayas. Six years on, and the region, which was once nearly completely decimated, has rebuilt itself.
As a team, we traveled by ‘jeepney’ around Tacloban and its surrounding areas, visiting the inspirational volunteer projects that we work with. We were taken to two community centers where children are provided with nutritionally rich meals, meeting the local sponsored children whose education and welfare are supported by the volunteer projects.
We even met a 14 year old sponsored girl, whose academic accolades were astounding. A house was built for her and her family by the project, and now her many medals and certificates have pride of place on its walls. What a remarkable example of what responsible travel and volunteering can achieve.
The welcome we received was incredibly touching, and as a country that loves to eat, sing, and dance, we were spoiled by the locals and their warm hospitality. When we have the opportunity to visit the projects that we work with, wherever they are, it is always a firm reminder of why Kaya Responsible Travel was founded.