At RWH Travel, we appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to peoples’ lives. In addition to our Charitable Trust, which works mainly with projects in the UK, we also have a scheme called Heart & Sole, managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit.
For many years, our clients have made informal donations to places they visit with us but now, through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long-term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. Heart & Sole offers direct financial aid and much-needed support to projects and charities in the UK and overseas, dealing with both large issues such as animal welfare as well as small, and more personal, ventures such as providing schools equipment to the communities we visit as part of our holidays.
By travelling with us, in addition to experiencing the joy of visiting new places, you can help us make a difference in these communities. You’ll find just some of the great projects we currently supporting below, and we welcome suggestions from your travels for new projects we can look into helping.
Hogar Brotes del Olivo & Hogar Blanca Flor foster homes, Costa Rica
Camino Travel, our trusted ground agent in Costa Rica, introduced Heart & Sole to two foster homes in San Juan, Costa Rica. With the help of Marie-Laura Gonzales, Camino Travel’s Social Responsibility Co-ordinator, our groups have the opportunity to visit the homes on our Natural Costa Rica holiday.
Children’s ages range from birth to about 5 years old and the aim of the care programme is to give these orphaned children a loving, family orientated start in life. The foster homes are 50% funded by an organisation, PINA, which in part is government funded and the remaining 50% comes from fund raising, sponsorship, and gifts, etc.
The big cost for the homes is milk and nappies. Heart & Sole is very pleased to be able to make a donation with each group that visits so they can purchase these much needed supplies and we encourage visitors to bring small items such as books, puzzles and hygiene products with them.
A helping hand in Namibia
We recently received an email from one of our group leaders, Avril, who was leading our African Journey holiday. She informed us that the group had visited a small, voluntary run pre primary school near Rundu in Namibia. Our group very kindly donated locally bought toiletries, books, pencils and toys, which was very happily received by the children.
While the group were visiting the school, Avril learnt that children from the local village, aged between 4 and 6 years old, walk a round trip of up to 8 km a day with their teacher or parent to attend this small school, which helps prepare them for attending the state provided primary school when they are a little older.
The school was set up by a local man called Marcus, whose next plan is to buy a donkey and cart to take the smallest children to and from school. He is also thinking of offering visitors to the area rides in the cart to help raise money to offset the cost of keeping the donkey and for school supplies.
The cost of buying a donkey is quite high in Namibia so, wanting to help, Avril contacted Heart & Sole to see if we could contribute:
“I just wondered if Heart and Sole could buy them a donkey? The going rate for a fine specimen in Namibia is 1600 Namibian dollars which is around £100. The price has rocketed recently as the Chinese are buying them up to extract gelatine to add to products to make them look younger, so a double benefit…we help the children and save a donkey”
Of course Heart & Sole wanted to help! We have agreed to sponsor the cost of two donkeys and can’t wait to introduce the newest members of our family very soon.
Bridges of London – Isabel Hospice
Staff members from RWH Travel joined hundreds of other walkers in London on September 24th for the Bridges of London walk. Our aim was to enjoy a day out in London, walking 9 miles over 10 bridges, raising money for a local charity – Isabel Hospice. Based in our home town of Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Isabel Hospice provides free palliative care and support for patients and their families living with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.
The day was a great success. London was busy with everyone enjoying the wonderful September weather, and as we walked from Battersea to Tower Bridge, taking in the sites and history, almost £500 was raised by our team. Heart & Sole agreed to match the donations up to £500, so a total of £992 was raised for a good cause. Well done all! You can learn more about Isabel Hospice on their website
Hurricane Relief Fund – CTO
Many of the Caribbean islands have been affected during this hurricane season with the level of threat being higher than previously experienced. Following Hurricane Irma and Storm Maria, with so much devastation across multiple islands, we hope that support during the recovery phase will continue, as for many, tourism is the main generator of income in the region. Islands less affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria are doing all they can to provide aid and shelter to their neighbours in need and they too will need all the support they can to positively impact what has been left in the wake of these forces of nature.
The Caribbean Tourism Organisation has activated its CTO Relief Fund through GoFundMe to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, with monies raised being sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the catastrophic storm. If you wish to contribute to the CTO’s fund, you will find details on the GoFundMe page. Thank you.
Toilet Twinning provides people in the poorest communities on the planet with a decent toilet, clean water and all the information they need to stay healthy. It’s the key to helping whole communities break free of the poverty trap. One of our own toilets at Lemsford Mill has been twinned!
We are delighted to be working in partnership with Water-to-Go. Water-to-Go’s mission is to protect travellers’ health by offering safe, healthy water anywhere in the world and to protect the planet by offering an environmentally friendly alternative to single-use plastic bottles. We look forward to helping them with their aim of changing the world, one bottle, one person at a time. Visit the Water-to-Go website to learn more and benefit from our exclusive 15% discount on your reusable Water-to-Go filtration bottle when you use the code ‘RWH17’
In December Dave Shanks, Director of Water to Go Ltd, presented Helen Nelson of Heart & Sole with a cheque for £750 which is a donation based on bottles bought by our clients in 2017. This represents over 650 bottles bought using the discount code. Heart & Sole will be able to use these funds to continue our support of ventures shown on this page. For 2018, our target is to sell 1000 bottles! Thank you to all our clients for their support. Also present was Sarah James from Lloyds Bank.
Digswell Place Group – Riding for the Disabled
The Digswell Place Group is a small charity based in Welwyn in Hertfordshire, which provides riding sessions for those less able and for all ages – giving happiness and fun to around 100 disabled riders a week. It is a purpose-built, voluntarily run riding stable where both adults and children benefit both physically and mentally and offers exercise in the open air. It increases strength and self-confidence, and also gives riders the opportunity to meet and socialise with the voluntary helpers.
One of our Heart & Sole team members, Julie, volunteers at the stables which makes this venture even more important to us! Click here to find out more about the RDA’s work.
Cockermouth Mountain Rescue
This volunteer team is responsible for rescuing people and animals from Buttermere (where our property Hassness Country House is located), Ennerdale, Lorton and the Loweswater valley areas of the Lake District and north-west Cumbria. Every booking on our Hassness holidays will mean a direct contribution to this charity. We have a number of 3 to 7-night departures throughout the year offering something for everyone. To find out more about Cockermouth Mountain Rescue, click here.
Soufriere Primary School, Dominica
A short distance from Roseau, the main city on the Caribbean island of Dominica, you’ll find the small, seaside village of Soufriere. From here our groups follow the Soufriere Trail, visiting Scotts Head, where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea meet, and taking a dip in the natural bubble sea spa.
We’ll also find Soufriere Primary School here. Resources are limited for the school, so with the help of our group leaders, we are able to make both financial donations and donations of learning materials that the school desperately needs. Our donations in 2016 helped the school replace the chairs and tables in the computer room, that had been destroyed by termites. To read more about our holiday that visits Dominica, take a look at our Caribbean Explorer page
SOS Children’s Villages
This charity provides help for 78,000 children in 125 countries who have been orphaned through AIDS, poverty or disasters of war. They provide the children with a family and a home in a purpose built village, where they are cared for by an SOS mother until they are an independent adult. We are currently sponsoring villages in Cape Verde, Greece, Morocco, Costa Rica & Malawi. Click here to read more
Hayden Hall, Darjeeling, India
Hayden Hall is a private, non-profit relief and development association based in Darjeeling, India. Their aim is to identify and solve the issues that women, their families and communities face by ensuring their basic needs such as housing, healthcare and education are met while offering training and study to ensure future self-sufficiency.
Monchy Primary School, St Lucia
RWH Travel has joined forces with our hotel partner in St Lucia, the Bay Gardens Inn, to provide funds for the continuation of the Breakfast Club at Monchy Primary School on the island. Ms Patrick, the manager of the Bay Gardens Inn hails from Monchy and on a visit to the school some years ago noted that some students were starting the day without a good breakfast. In additional to financial aid to the school, RWH Travel also supply clients on the St Lucia Adventure holiday a list of teaching aids needed by the school so that they can directly help.
Bhero Kakar Primary School, Rajasthan, India
We visit the Bhero Kakar Primary School on our Villages of Rajasthan holiday, when we stay in the village of Narlai. Our groups deliver much needed items to the children such as jumpers, school bags, shoes and text books, all sourced locally where possible. Before each group leaves the UK, we contact the headmaster to ask what is needed at that time.
SPANA (the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) is an international animal welfare charity, aiming to improve the lives of working animals around the world. Millions of families in developing countries depend on horses, donkeys, mules and camels to help them earn a living; but many animals have no access to veterinary treatment and can suffer with preventable illnesses and injuries. SPANA’s centres across Africa and the Middle East provide free veterinary treatment for hundreds of thousands of sick and injured working animals every year, plus they offer education & training and emergency response. Their education programme teaches children and owners respect and compassion for animals.
During conflict, drought and natural disaster, their emergency programme gets help to animals and the communities who depend on them, whenever and wherever they’re needed. Heart & Sole is especially involved with SPANA’s work in Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
Andros Routes, Greece
Andros Routes is the name of a long standing, non profit organisation on the Greek island of Andros that combines research and actions for the environment & culture and for the sustainable evolution of the island. They record, maintain and promote the traditional hiking routes, as well as record oral history. They aim to involve local residents and visitors in their venture. In addition to making a financial contribution, we also engage one of their guides to walk with us on one day, on our Tinos & Andros holiday, to help us immerse ourselves in island life.
Karatu Orphanage, Tanzania
One of our leaders, Adrian Flatt, recently led a group through Africa on our From the Serengeti to Zanzibar holiday and delivered 21kg of Lego and Duplo to the Karatu Orphanage. Adrian wrote a blog on his return in the hope that this will encourage others to donate such a useful gift.
“One of the least likely places in the World to find Lego is in a crowded Orphanage in the heart of Africa. Now, thanks to RWH Heart & Sole venture, the soles of sixty eight little pairs of bare feet will be upturned as the children at Karatu Orphanage in Tanzania discover a building block toy they may never have imagined.
Friends and connections of Leader Adrian Flatt have generously contributed a large mound of Lego/Duplo. In January this was delivered to the children, who eagerly fell upon their new toy with emotions of astonishment and excitement! They wasted no time in creating their first models ……
These building blocks must universally be amongst the best toys in the world for children! The bricks stimulate creativity and manual dexterity. Equally – perhaps more importantly – the play with these bricks silently illuminates the maths of “fractions” and “times-tables”. Any child finding that no 8-stud bricks remain in the box will quickly find (without being told) that two 4-stud bricks or four 2-stud bricks will be the way to continue building the model they have in mind. Meanwhile, happy hours are spent usefully playing alone or together to achieve things they have imagined…”
Please consider send any used Duplo or Lego to us and we will take it to orphanages in the course of guiding groups on Tours in power parts of the world. Thank you !
We visited the Karatu orphanage on our From the Serengeti to Zanzibar holiday.
There are 9 000 000 girls in South Africa between the ages of 13 and 19. Everyday, thousands of these girls in rural regions miss out on education due to menstruation as they have no access to sanitary wear. That is one week every month, which is a massive set back in their school careers.
Project Dignity works with Sue Barnes who created Subz in response to a request for the donation of washable sanitary pads and panties for the under privileged girls in her area. This simple and effective solution, along with education, helps empower school girls across the region. For more information on Subz, please click here
Royal Drakensberg Primary School, KwaZulu Natal
The Royal Drakensberg school was set up by the owner of the Cavern Drakensberg Hotel in 2007 to enable poorer families to send their children to school. The school currently has 48 children in grades 0-5, from different backgrounds and capabilities. We stay at the cavern Drakensberg Hotel on our KwaZulu Natal and The Drakensberg Mountains holidays. To find out more about this fantastic community school Click here to read more.
YODEP is a non-profit making community based youth organisation in Zomba Malawi, whose aim is to address socio-economic conditions encountered by all members of the community affected by HIV/AIDS. YODEP is self sufficient by growing and selling maize to support their programme as well as operating eco-tourism visits to their community.
As part of our visit to Zomba on our Malawi & Zambia holiday we include time in the village community where you can learn more about the group’s work, enjoy a village walk and meet the villagers. In addition to contributing to the community project through our visit, Heart & Sole also provides the RWH group leader with funds to buy items locally that the villagers need such as blankets, sugar and school packs.
Our ground agent in Malawi, Responsible Safari Company, coordinates many community projects throughout the country and you can learn more about them and YODEP here.