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Our Commitment

Our World, Our responsibility: Spirit Asia Travel Commitment

The Spirit Asia Travel has been taking the responsibilities of travel seriously since its establishment in 2006 (formally Green Elephant Travel) 'Green' means we want to keep our world green and therefore travel in the most Eco-friendly way possible. Tourism can have both a positive and a negative impact on local people and the environment. We aim to reduce the negative impacts of tourism and increase the positive. The Trip Styles, created by Spirit Asia Travel, allows visitors to explore in ways that reduce the damage caused by tourism to our world. We feel the importance of keeping our world green for generations to follow.

Water - A percentage of our benefits will go towards installing local and rural areas with water pumps. This will help provide clean water in the dry season, a time of extreme need.

Climate - The Trip Styles have been designed to reduce the amount of domestic and every other short flights, in turn, reducing the amount of Co2 emitted into the atmosphere.

Litter - We encourage local volunteers to help keep the land tidy by cleaning the affected areas and discouraging the use of plastic bags. We also created the trip that would bring our guest to replant the tree around the communities.  

Check out just some of the exciting things we're doing to make a difference:

  • GIVING BACK
  • EYES ON THE GROUND
  • KIDS WHO CARE
  • THE SPIRIT FOUNDATIONS
  • COMMITTED EMPLOYEES
  • BEHIND THE SCENES
  • COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS
  • NGOS INVOLVEMENT

Giving back to communities: We don’t only take you to 'touristy' travel destinations on Spirit Asia Travel Adventures: we take you into the communities where people live and work by many options of transport such as biking, tuk tuk, cyclo, train and to some places by car or bus. Here are just a few example of how we support communities in the areas we run the trips:

During a stay in Siem Reap, a former ancient capital of Angkor during the Khmer Empire, our leaders and guests visit a local school on the floating village of Tonle Sap with approximately one hundred poor children living around the school. These children came from families of fishermen near the town we usually visit (Siem Reap), to the orphanage called Happy Family. There are 33 children in total, where they live with an old lady that they call 'mum'. In addition to interacting with the children, we provide school with stationary such as books, pens, pencils, maps, paper, toys such as a football, bicycles, and others, clothes as well as food to them. We bring a lot of rice, eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and other cooking ingredients to the orphanage in Siem Reap. At other times we take them to the kid’s world and give them the chance to play a lot of games and buy them ice creams! We suggest to our friends and guests they send them any unwanted/second hand clothes, shoes and toys for the village children and orphanage when our guests visit them. Even though none are obliged to do so of course, some of our customers have been so moved by the experience that they send more supplies and donations to the school, villages and orphanage. Our trips also include a one night 'home stay' with a local family of farmers in the village so our guests can experience life here at first hand, whilst also benefiting the local people.

Eyes on the Ground: Each and every one of our trip leaders is empowered and encouraged to get involved in the communities where they lead. Our leaders are looking for good ideas to help communities and the environment, as well as helping the places we visit. When leaders identify small-scale projects that will improve the lives of people and/or the environment, they propose the idea to Spirit Asia Travel. Projects are then evaluated and those that are approved are funded by Spirit Asia Travel and overseen by the leader with volunteers. These leader-initiated projects are just one way that we give back to the communities where we travel.  For example, our leaders suggest our guests spend one hour receiving a 'blind massage' not only to experience this, (for it is a truly amazing experience) but also to prevent the blind from having to beg on the streets. Also sometimes we spend our time teaching English to the local school children in the village and help them to improve their language skills.

Kids who care: As the children grow up, we notice the difference that our help and support brings during our visits to the orphanage near the town of Siem Reap. Spirit Asia Travel has helped to rebuild the foundations of the orphanage building to ensure more hygienic, safer and better overall living conditions during the rainy season. We bought seventeen bicycles via our clients group from America for the orphanage and support them to go to secondary school with our gifts of school stationary. We also financially support their mother to buy food. We sometimes bring shoes, clothes, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other everyday toiletries.

Who we are: The Spirit Foundations was founded in 2002 by a group of Khmer Tour Leaders with the aim of helping the children of Cambodia. As employees of an international tour operator, we began helping by bringing food, clothes and school stationary to poor families we meet whilst touring. We collected supplies from launderette’s and some of our generous passengers. We shared a part of our salary to offer basic needs and our time to provide some basic English to children of poor villages. In 2006, after years of experience in tourism, we decided to start up our own travel agency and to extend our charity work.

Children’s life in Cambodia: More than one third of Cambodians live below the poverty line, struggling to survive on less than $1 a day. Poverty is especially pervasive in rural areas and among children, who constitute more than half of the country's population (Unicef). Children's safety is substandard in Cambodia; 60,000 children under 5 years of age still die every year! The numerous reasons include; disease - although a lot are preventable by vaccination - diarrhoea, respiratory infections, malnutrition, insalubrity, HIV prevalence and accidents (road, drowning, UXO). In addition, poverty effects children’s schooling (unaffordable tuition, child labour) and in turn this increases their vulnerability (street children, exploitation including sexual abuse, drug and alcohol issues).

Our objectives: Every child is a gift and should receive the best care so they can grow up in happiness within a loving family. The aim of our contribution is to provide better living conditions for the children of our country and therefore improve their future. For this, children must receive the basic needs. We focus on bringing them the 4 following necessities: protection, education, health and a healthy supply of drinking water.

Our project: Spirit Asia Travel donates 5% of its total profit directly to The Spirit Foundations. A large amount of this will be donated to other NGO’s and charity organizations working in Cambodia on the 4 topics mentioned above. The rest will be channeled into our personal charity projects (payment of school fees and supplies for selected impoverished children, the building of water pumps in poor villages, free transfers to hospitals for children from remote areas who need medical care).

Committed Employees: During New Year and Buddhist Ceremony Bun Pchum Ben, Spirit Asia Travel employees and their families share their time and money to make many delicious meals and deliver them to the temples in the villages for the Buddhist monks. A lot of the food we prepare (noodles, cakes, drinks) is also offered to the older people who live alone in the temple or the village, for a lot of the older people are poor and have no family members left, some of whom have been killed by the Khmer Rouge during the civil war in Cambodia.

Daily Commutes in our home offices and public area, we encourage our employees to say no to plastic bags, educate them about global warming and about how to clean our environment. One of our main purposes is to keep our planet green so we can sustain travel and tourism and to keep our country and our planet as beautiful as it is.

The most important actions aren’t always the most glamorous, but we want to be sure our internal practices match our external commitment.

Saving Energy: Most of our trip styles make use of Eco-friendly ways to travel such as bikes, tuk tuk and small vehicles to save energy as well as trying to reduce CO2 emissions.

Sustainable Products In our offices, all of our paper is recycled and then given to the school for the blind (NGO of Krousa Thmey in Siem Reap (www.krousar-thmey.org) and used by the children to further their studies in higher education.

Leader Training All Spirit Asia Travel leaders are trained to minimize the impact traveling has on the environment while supporting your experience as guests. Leaders train to recycle whenever possible in all the regions we travel, and donate leftover foods to various communities programs and support the poor. Each day of travel we normally buy some bread (which is very cheap) to give to the poorer children in the villages we visit.

- Spirit Asia Travel Community Partnership: We support non-profits in the communities where our guests live by donating trips as fundraisers. We’ve donated different kinds of our support to different communities and NGOs.

Education, Healthcare, Cultural, culinary:

Happy Family: (Orphanage in Siem Reap), it is small and very poor Orphanage, which houses roughly 33 children.

Blind School: in Siem Reap www.krousar-thmey.org

Angkor Children hospital: www.angkorhospital.org  

Jayavarman 7 children hospital: http://www.beatocello.com/

Local school: A local school built inside a Buddist temple and we usually visit them and support them with donations of school supplies and raise funds for extending the school in the form of a library, classroom…etc…

Romdeng restaurant and Friends restaurant: Running by NGO of Friends International to support street children http://www.mithsamlanh.org/

Angkor National Musuem: http://www.angkornationalmuseum.com/

Handicap International: http://en.handicapinternational.be/index.php

Angkor Center for Conservation of biodiversity: www.accb-cambodia.org

Sovannaphum theatre: http://shadow-puppets.org/

Amrita performing art: www.amritaperformingarts.org

Spirit Asia Travel Community Partnership: We support non-profits in the communities where our guests live by donating trips as fundraisers. We’ve donated different kinds of our support to different communities and NGOs.

Education, Healthcare, Cultural, culinary:

Happy Family: (Orphanage in Siem Reap), it is small and very poor Orphanage, which houses roughly 33 children.

Blind School: in Siem Reap www.krousar-thmey.org

Angkor Children hospital: www.angkorhospital.org  

Jayavarman 7 children hospital: http://www.beatocello.com/

Local school: A local school mostly built inside a Buddist temple and we usually visit them and giving support them during our trip by giving some school supply and raising funs for building something for the school such as library, classroom…etc…

Romdeng restaurant and Friends restaurant: Running by NGO of Friends International to support street children http://www.mithsamlanh.org/

Angkor National Musuem: http://www.angkornationalmuseum.com/

Handicap International: http://en.handicapinternational.be/index.php

Angkor Center for Conservation of biodiversity: www.accb-cambodia.org

Sovannaphum theatre: http://shadow-puppets.org/

Amrita performing art: www.amritaperformingarts.org

NGO (Non-Government Organization) involvement: Our trips support NGOs around Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, which brings benefit to the poor and disabled people in that area. For example, we normally visit these two NGOs:

Samveasna NGO www.samveasna.org - when we take a boat trip to Preak Toal Village we normally stop to visit this community and buy some souvenirs that they produce, such as bags, shoes, mats, hammocks and other items. In turn, this helps them produce clean water for the neighbouring villages and helps our environment.

We also visit Childsafe Centre www.childsafe-international.org based in Phnom Penh to develop a greater understanding about the children in Cambodia and learn more about how to protect them. Visiting NGO's helps us understand how to help and support the community.

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