One of the main reasons why people want to go to a place like the Maldives is to experience the amazing beauty of the islands, enjoy the white sandy beaches, the beautiful blue shades of the water, and explore the world under the sea. But have you ever paid attention to the fact that this amazing destination is threatened by the impacts of climate change and some of the islands are at risk of becoming submerged under water because of the rising sea levels? The small size of the islands, the rapid growth in the population, changing consumption patterns, large scale tourism development, and the effects of climate change have all had an impact on the islands in the Maldives and their fragile ecosystems.
Many people don’t realize the impacts that they can potentially have on the environments of remote destinations such as the Maldives. So how can you make a difference while you travel, and help to preserve and protect these threatened places? You can become a more socially responsible traveller and look at supporting local NGOs and eco-friendly businesses that strive to limit their impact on the environment and protect and preserve it for future generations. Plus by travelling beyond the large scale resorts and visiting the local islands and rural communities leads to the added benefit of creating a sustainable livelihood for the local people through grassroots tourism development.
Travel Roots has partnered with Huvadhoo Aid, an NGO youth led organization located in the Huvadhoo Atoll in the Maldives. Huvadhoo Aid exists to enable the rural people to work effectively in promoting and advancing the interests of the rural communities to attain basic needs. They strive to create a strong united community for the sustainable advancement of the island and focus on poverty alleviation and promoting equity and equality. They currently are in need of human resources and volunteers to assist with Environmental Programs on the island such as mangrove reforestation, waste management, and environmental education.
Travel opportunities as a volunteer get you outside of the luxury resorts and into the local communities where you can really experience the local island life. And because of the remoteness of these communities they do require additional resources, skills, and knowledge related to environmental conservation and education. Something as simple as planting mangroves on the shoreline can have a huge impact on the natural ecosystems of the island. You will have the satisfaction of helping with a local initiative that will protect and preserve the beautiful places you love to travel to for future generations. The rewards of volunteering are endless and it’s a great way to really get off the beaten track, become immersed into a new culture, and contribute to local community projects while exploring an amazing destination.
Here’s what volunteer Jennilee from Winnipeg, Canada had to say about her experience:
This was such a unique travel/volunteer experience. This trip went way beyond the typical resort lifestyle, which allowed myself and the other volunteers’ experience first hand what the real Maldives is all about! And it is amazing!
Volunteering within the local community island of Hoadedhoo was very rewarding and it felt great to give back to the community.
We got to experience how the local Maldivians live their everyday life. It was so refreshing to see how the locals interact and live off of the islands. From fishing trips, snorkeling, and trips to the uninhabited islands, everything was just great.
I feel like I gained so much from this experience from volunteering and helping the locals and also from seeing how unique the Maldivian culture is. I would highly recommend this trip!”
So next time you want to book a travel experience in a remote, beautiful location think about how you are potentially impacting the environment and how you can make a difference in the local communities to offset some of these impacts and preserve them for future generations. For information on volunteer programs visit www.travelroots.ca.