Posts Categorized:

Dragons Travel Guide

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    [post_date] => 2020-05-18 10:22:02
    [post_date_gmt] => 2020-05-18 16:22:02
    [post_content] => Dragons instructor and journalist, Kristen Gianaris, wrote an article for Morocco World News comparing western perspectives on toilet paper and the benefits of switching to a more sustainable solution such as water—the way many communities around the world have done for centuries. 


toilet paper challenge instagram Morocco World NewsIn The Article Gianaris Mentions:

  • Statistics such as the fact that somewhere between 70 and 75% of people worldwide use some alternative to toilet paper and that the World Wildlife Foundation estimates that people flush 27,000 trees a day down the toilet.
  • The historical, cultural, and environmental elements present in the discussion around "bathroom business".
  • The way that Dragons immersive curriculum encourages students to challenge their perspectives.
Preferring the road less traveled by tourists, WTBD designs educational courses in a way that encourages students to do as locals do. In many of the countries where the organization operates, water is the primary method to take care of bathroom business.
  [caption id="attachment_156784" align="alignright" width="376"]toilet paper challenge instagram Morocco World News An alumni response to a prompt on Instagram to share a lesson from the field that is helping them cope under the pressures of COVID-19[/caption]

Dragons instructors were quoted on the topic:

"TP is perhaps one of the best examples of ‘leaving home behind.’ So much of the world lives without toilet paper, how did/do humans do without it? Exploring this brings us closer to understanding who we are as humans. In addition, breaking open our judgments of what constitutes ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ can help break down stereotypes.” —Tim Hare, Director of Risk Management. “I am doing the #notpchallenge [no toilet paper challenge] with Where There Be Dragons...once you start, there’s no turning back.” —Greg Pettys, Instructor. “Our students are uniquely situated to help build practices on this continent … that are more resource-use-aware...we have to instruct on the use of water to cleanse oneself. And the students, of course, in the first week, students find it hilarious and unsettling, and then by the end, many of them actually like it better than using toilet paper.” — Charis Boke, Instructor.  
[post_title] => DRAGONS #NOTPCHALLENGE FEATURED IN MOROCCO WORLD NEWS [post_excerpt] => Dragons instructor and journalist, Kristen Gianaris, wrote an article for Morocco World News comparing western perspectives on toilet paper and the benefits of switching to a more sustainable solution such as water—the way many communities around the world have done for centuries.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => dragons-notpchallenge-featured-in-morocco-world-news [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-18 14:50:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-18 20:50:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 697 [name] => Dragons Travel Guide [slug] => dragons-travel-guide [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 697 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 697 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Dragons Travel Guide [category_nicename] => dragons-travel-guide [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 638 [name] => From the Field [slug] => from_the_field [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 638 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [parent] => 0 [count] => 78 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 5 [cat_ID] => 638 [category_count] => 78 [category_description] => Featured Yaks, Reflections, Quotes, Photo Spreads and Videos from the Four Corners. [cat_name] => From the Field [category_nicename] => from_the_field [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 1 [name] => Uncategorized [slug] => uncategorized [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 1 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 15 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 16 [cat_ID] => 1 [category_count] => 15 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Uncategorized [category_nicename] => uncategorized [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Travel Guide, From the Field ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-03-18 15:35:26
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We want to share this note from Aaron Slosberg, Director of Student Programming, about the importance of the transference process for our students and instructors returning home and for all those adjusting to the current state of the world.

Dear Spring Semester Students, Instructors, and Dragons Community,

What initially started as an emergent epidemic in China, soon morphed into the global pandemic that is sadly bringing an early end to your semester this week. Dragons has gone through public health scares in the past, but none as far reaching as COVID-19. The scope of the pandemic is crossing and closing international borders in ways that are truly unprecedented because we are living in an unprecedentedly interconnected world. Fear can breed distance from the unfamiliar, which may be self-protecting and necessary in some cases, but also the roots of xenophobia and isolation in others. And we are living in fearful times with real problems to face.

COVID-19 is not a scarecrow threat. The potential health impacts are real and overwhelming in scope. Communities are struggling to mitigate the disease’s reach, and in doing so, are being faced with tough questions about the fabric of our society and values. Are public health and healthy economies at odds? Can we self-manage our response to the pandemic or do governments need to curtail personal freedoms in pursuit of a common good? Can we maintain open borders and movement or do nations need to close themselves off?  These are not abstract dilemmas; in fact, they have already personally impacted all of us and will continue to color conversations well into the future.

Being on a Dragons program can be paradoxically connecting and disconnecting experience. Connecting because you are so actively engaged with your surroundings, and the local & global themes manifested there, without the filter of screens or media. Relationships can feel uniquely alive and immediate. Disconnecting because you are apart from your community back home and from the technological waterfall of information available at your fingertips. We’ve heard that many  students this semester were only abstractly aware of COVID-19 because it just wasn’t a part of your daily realities. Although we know you each have already felt its influence, we also want to prepare you for the new reality you’re returning to…

You will feel the presence of COVID-19 everywhere you go in the coming weeks. Social distancing practices have shuttered schools, restaurants, and myriad public spaces. Once bustling areas are eerily quiet. Businesses and workers are struggling mightily to find a footing in this novel economy, Dragons included. The coronavirus is on center stage in all forms of media. People are scared and anxious about what the future holds.

Most travelers already feel overwhelmed returning from abroad. Re-entry culture shock and separation from your Dragons group can result in a rollercoaster of emotions. We want you to know that whatever feelings come up for you in the coming days have most likely been (or are being) experienced by Dragons students and instructors around the world. What is unique to your return experience is the added layer of coming back to a society in the midst of some tectonic shifts. We often say that a common disconnect in returning home is that the traveler can feel so different inside, filled with new experiences and perspectives, but their old surroundings still seem the same. You may find that just as you have changed, so has the context of your home.

And in those changes, we encourage you to practice caution, patience, and compassion with your loved ones.

Caution because these circumstances absolutely demand it. Follow health protocols not only for your own safety, but also for the safety of your community. You may not be in a high risk demographic; however, your behaviors can determine the level of risk posed to those around you. Don’t take it personally if loved ones are intentionally distant from you, or even a bit scared of the risk you may pose as a newly returned traveler; everyone is doing their best to navigate this situation. Keep up with the sanitation and safety guidelines from your course, and heed the established advice of health experts.

Patience because your transition back home will take time. Don’t expect for everything to immediately feel the same. Don’t expect for everyone around you to readily understand your experiences and emotions. And know that with time and patience, you will form newly familiar routines and norms. Your experiences abroad, and the expression of them, will gain clarity and traction in your life at home.

Compassion because your experience is uniquely yours. Your family and friends back home have not been exposed to the same realities, perspectives, and insights. Don’t let that difference become a barrier to connection or a cause for judgment. Compassion because we have the power to turn this moment into something other than a cause for fear of people and places different from us. Compassion because we are all doing our best to cope with a world often beyond our control, and while we can’t always change what’s outside of us, we can choose to respond with kindness.

I want you to know that even though your Dragons semester is coming to a close, you are forever a part of this community. We are here for you now, and always. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us whether that’s in a week, or years down the road.

Wishing you all the best in your return home.

Aaron Slosberg

Director of Student Programming


[post_title] => TRANSFERENCE: A NOTE FROM OUR DIRECTOR OF STUDENT PROGRAMMING [post_excerpt] => We want to share this note from Aaron Slosberg, Director of Student Programming, about the importance of the transference process for our students returning home and for all those adjusting to the current state of the world. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => transference-a-note-from-our-director-of-student-programming [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-04-07 14:33:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-04-07 20:33:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 697 [name] => Dragons Travel Guide [slug] => dragons-travel-guide [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 697 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 697 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Dragons Travel Guide [category_nicename] => dragons-travel-guide [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 700 [name] => For Parents [slug] => for_parents [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 700 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [parent] => 0 [count] => 48 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 6 [cat_ID] => 700 [category_count] => 48 [category_description] => Blog posts specifically curated for parents wishing to know more about Dragons culture, programs, company, and community. [cat_name] => For Parents [category_nicename] => for_parents [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 653 [name] => Global Community [slug] => global_community [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 653 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [parent] => 0 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 7 [cat_ID] => 653 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => Featured International People, Places, Projects. [cat_name] => Global Community [category_nicename] => global_community [category_parent] => 0 ) [3] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 64 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 64 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Travel Guide, For Parents ... )
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    [post_date] => 2020-02-27 16:41:26
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    [post_content] => Planning any kind of travel means asking yourself a laundry list of questions: Where should I go? What should I do? What do I pack? More recently, articles identifying air travel as a major emitter of greenhouse gasses have demanded climate-aware travelers ask themselves: How can I travel if I care about the Earth?

Experienced travelers at Dragons have wondered the same and are always looking for new ways to reduce our impact. We want to add to the conversation by sharing what we have learned from our years in the field. We also want to hear from you about the ways that you are choosing to be conscientious in your daily life!

For us, it all starts with taking stock of our environmental impact. Simply existing on planet Earth begets a carbon footprint. However, the decisions you make in your everyday life can help control how big or small that footprint is. Our advice? Start small. Break down your travel choices one-by-one and find simple, actionable, and measurable changes that can help reduce your footprint—especially while traveling. 

1. Reduce

Have you ever tried to keep track of how much waste you produce every day? Many products designed to be convenient are used once or twice and then sent straight to the landfill. Yet much of the time, it’s relatively easy to choose a less wasteful option. For example, you can:
  • Carry a reusable travel mug for your morning coffee 
  • Use a steel instead of plastic straw
  • Carry a packable reusable bag in your backpack or purse for all your shopping needs
Think twice when you toss your trash, when a barista offers you a plastic straw, or when you can choose to walk to your destination. Take a look at the products you use and ask yourself if there is a zero-waste or minimal-waste option. 

2. Buy Better

From the many apps available for buying used goods to brick and mortar second-hand shops, there are numerous ways to shop for used gear. Choosing a locally-oriented app or used store as opposed to websites like Amazon eliminates carbon emissions associated with shipping and transportation. Research reusable travel products and then look for a used version that is still in good condition.  Want to use top-quality gear but don’t need it to be new? Environmentally conscious companies like REI and Patagonia have designated used-gear sections. Want to go even further? Rent or borrow from a friend or family member! Host a gear swap and encourage your community to dig out their unused gear to help support your mission.  Gear You Find Used/Borrowed: 
  • Backpack
  • Down Jacket
  • Warm Layers
  • Camping Stove
  • Sleeping Bag 
  • Camping Gear
Eco-Friendly Travel Items: 
  • Refillable Water Bottle 
  • Steel Straw 
  • Reusable Shopping Bag
  • Bamboo Toothbrush
  • Reusable Shampoo and Conditioner Containers 
  • Toothpaste Tablets 
  • Reusable to-go container 
  • Reusable Spork/Utensils 
  • Handkerchief 
  • Rechargeable/solar batteries
  • Reusable silicone bags instead of zip locks
Other green alternatives:
  • Opt for bulk or homemade snacks to avoid excess packaging
  • Opt for digital copies of documents whenever possible
  • Politely say no to unnecessary promotional items and explain why (organizations will stop sending them if they hear the message from their clients!)
  • If ordering any food “to go,” try offering to bring your own reusable containers for food transport. 
  • Kindly decline single-use plastics on airplanes by asking for the drink in a can with no cup, or using your own coffee/tea mug. 
  • Remember, every time you politely decline single-use plastics (bags, straws, cups, etc.) you send a gentle message to the establishment about how they can make their clients happier.
  • Wear reef-safe sunscreen in oceans. 
  • Don't purchase souvenirs that steal from nature (shells, ivory, etc.). 
  • Be mindful of your environment if you choose to use chemical bug repellants.
  • Vote with your dollar
  • Do research on the companies that you choose to support; from the products you use to the places you shop or the airline you fly. 
  • Choose to buy from companies whose values align with the environment and social justice.
  • Support B Corp certified businesses and join the global movement of people using business as a force for good.
  • If air travel is your only option for travel to your destination, choose an airline that already offsets their emissions. Fly economy so that more seats are taken up on your flight. Fly direct whenever possible to eliminate unnecessary emissions. 

3. Go Slow

Join the slow travel movement.  
  • On your way: Use public transportation. Travel by boat, bike, bus, train, rather than airplane.
  • When you get there: Stay for longer, shop local, sit down to eat instead of taking food to-go, stay in locally owned accommodation
  • When you get home: Apply the minimal-waste mindset to your daily life. Inspire your community to do the same. Share your reflections and decisions with others. 
By choosing to support local and reduce emissions, you are directly empowering the local economy and reducing your cultural and ecological footprint. Dragons 2-9 Week programs are designed with Slow Travel in mind. By traveling via public transportation and living as locals through homestays to supporting locally-owned businesses and educating ourselves on local initiatives, we are doing our best to understand reduce our cultural and environmental footprint when we travel.  Offset what you can’t reduce.  Calculate your CO2 emissions: use this calculator to measure the number of emissions per mile flown. 
  • Offset your carbon footprint:  Carbon offsetting is the act of reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions to compensate for emissions that were produced elsewhere. For example, you can offset your flights by donating to an environmental project
  • See what Dragons is doing to offset our emissions.
On my Dragons program, we talked a lot about using our money thoughtfully and buying products that we knew were being produced in fair conditions where the people who were involved in making them directly benefited from the sale of their work. Now that I am at home, I think about where my clothing was made, and whether the people involved in making it were treated and paid fairly. I think about where my food comes from, and whether it makes sense environmentally to buy produce grown in another country —Lindsay Eiseman, Student.


[post_title] => Three Ways to Make Your Travels More Sustainable [post_excerpt] => How can I travel if I care about the Earth? Experienced travelers at Dragons have wondered the same and are always looking for new ways to reduce our impact. We want to add to the conversation by sharing what we have learned from our years in the field. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => three-ways-to-make-your-gap-year-more-sustainable [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-03-11 10:07:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-03-11 16:07:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 697 [name] => Dragons Travel Guide [slug] => dragons-travel-guide [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 697 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 697 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Dragons Travel Guide [category_nicename] => dragons-travel-guide [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 670 [name] => Recommended [slug] => recommended [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 670 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [parent] => 0 [count] => 18 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 12 [cat_ID] => 670 [category_count] => 18 [category_description] => Recommended reading, watching and listening. [cat_name] => Recommended [category_nicename] => recommended [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Travel Guide, Recommended )
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    [post_content] => Maybe you’ve done a group travel program with Dragons or another organization. Maybe you’re feeling ready for a more independent experience abroad...

But here’s what you’re wondering:

  • How can I avoid the backpacker tourist traps?
  • How do I get an authentic learning service experience that avoids the pitfalls of the “voluntourism” industry? 
  • How do I build authentic connections with individuals when I don’t know anyone? 
  • How do I find a homestay family that’s been vetted and recommended? 
  • How do I avoid feeling like I’ve been “placed” without in-country mentorship and guidance?
  • Who do I call on for support when I have questions or if something goes wrong? 
It can be hard to know where to even start. We’ve heard from many past Dragons students that the travels they pursued on their own after a group program left them feeling lost, unsupported, or even conflicted about the ethics and efficacy of their presence and projects.  So we’ve launched the Dragons Independent Spring Experience (ISE).  Here’s what our ISE Programs offer:
  1. Meaningful cross-cultural engagement outside the structure of a group semester, but still with the support of Dragons local (in-country) resources and mentorship. 
  2. A co-created, personalized, and self-directed gap year or study abroad experience.
  3. Direct Support from Dragons international network of trained in-country staff and vetted resources. 
  4. Access to Dragons Administrative Team & our decades of expertise in managing international risk and emergency response.

MORE DETAILS: What does an ISE program consist of?

ISE programs are offered in places where Dragons has long-established and active community networks. We are currently offering ISE options in:
  • Guatemala
  • Bolivia
  • China
  • Senegal
  • Nepal
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
Each program site is staffed by a Dragons On-Site Coordinator: a veteran Dragons instructor with expertise in the country and extensive experience working with Dragons Gap Year students and to our standards of excellence. The On-Site Coordinator has weekly face-to-face meetings with each student, conducts a multi-day orientation focused on safety, cultural norms, and strategies for engagement, and acts as a cultural facilitator and mentor throughout. ISE programs have a strong emphasis on cultural and language immersion and in-depth exploration of critical issues. Participants are placed with a trusted homestay family for the duration of the program, receive intensive language instruction (as desired), and are paired with local mentors for an Independent Study Project (ISP). In addition, participants have 24/7 access to our in-country and international emergency response resources. ISE programs have two start dates (January 15 and February 12) with a 6-week minimum length and the option for weekly extensions (up until May 1st). ISE programs were created specifically for those who have previously completed a group travel program (international or domestic), of one month or longer, with any provider.

Dragons Independent Spring Experience Program

Visit our INDEPENDENT SPRING EXPERIENCES Page for more program details and guidance on how to enroll. 

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[post_title] => Introducing Our Newest Offering: Independent Spring Experiences (ISE)  [post_excerpt] => We’ve heard from many past Dragons students that the travels they pursued on their own left them feeling lost or even conflicted about the ethics and efficacy of their presence and projects. So we’re launching Dragons Independent Spring Experience (ISE), an independent Gap Year experience supported by Dragons ... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => introducing_independent_spring_experiences_ise [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-10-17 09:19:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-10-17 15:19:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 697 [name] => Dragons Travel Guide [slug] => dragons-travel-guide [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 697 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 3 [cat_ID] => 697 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Dragons Travel Guide [category_nicename] => dragons-travel-guide [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 655 [name] => Continued Education [slug] => continued_education [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 655 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [parent] => 0 [count] => 15 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 4 [cat_ID] => 655 [category_count] => 15 [category_description] => Continued Education, Webinars, Curriculum, Transference. [cat_name] => Continued Education [category_nicename] => continued_education [category_parent] => 0 [link] => ) [2] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 651 [name] => Announcements [slug] => announcements [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 651 [taxonomy] => category [description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [parent] => 0 [count] => 64 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 15 [cat_ID] => 651 [category_count] => 64 [category_description] => Announcements on: New Programs, Surveys, Jobs/Internships, Contests, & Behind-the-Scenes Activity. [cat_name] => Announcements [category_nicename] => announcements [category_parent] => 0 ) ) [category_links] => Dragons Travel Guide, Continued Education ... )
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Modeling the Values of Responsible Travel

A Conversation With Education Abroad Professionals

Responsible travel is a concept that we talk about frequently at Dragons. On programs, we employ a variety of approaches to help students understand and then engage in activities that are responsible in nature. We might do that by asking students to dress in culturally appropriate ways, encouraging students to use the target language with host family members, teaching students how to use local transportation, etc. (see our position paper for more examples of how we strive to travel responsibly). Many of these approaches are, in essence, an effort to ask our students to adapt to the place rather than demanding that the place adapt to our own needs, desires, and expectations.
Many of these approaches are, in essence, an effort to ask our students to adapt to the place rather than demanding that the place adapt to our own needs, desires, and expectations.

Defining Responsible Travel

When talking about responsible travel, the basic question is “what distinguishes travel from being responsible or not”? In the most simple terms, it is whether or not the travel is in alignment with a specific set of values we hold to be true. Broadly, we think that responsible travel aims to minimize the negative impacts that international visitors, like our study abroad students, might have on a local economy, environment, or culture. Moreover, our sense is that responsible travel is not only about minimizing harm, but also about attempting to have a positive impact on host communities.
Broadly, we think that responsible travel aims to minimize the negative impacts that international visitors, like our study abroad students, might have on a local economy, environment, or culture.
And what ARE the values that underpin responsible travel? We recognize that there isn’t a right answer to this question, but at Dragons, we have attempted to come up with a definition to help drive our work. We define this concept as travel that aligns with the values of being culturally conscious, environmentally responsible, and focused on developing meaningful connections and mutual respect in communities.

Why Modeling Matters

As part of her Master’s thesis, our colleague Shino Marta Yoshen recently conducted a series of interviews with Dragons US-based, field staff and alumni. Shino's research revealed how important and meaningful it was to staff that Dragons, as a whole, demonstrated a willingness to incorporate the values of responsible travel into the organizational functioning. The interviews seemed to indicate that people are inspired and work more passionately when they feel their work is actively aligned with their values. Those Shino interviewed seemed to be engaging in the field of intercultural education primarily because they believe in the importance of such work. We think this is a core reason for most of us to work in this field, and therefore being mindful of how we can embody our values ourselves keeps us connected to why we choose this work. And it reminds us of the importance of these values and of passing them on to students.
Modeling the values of responsible travel is also important because students can tell when we walk the walk...
Modeling the values of responsible travel is also important because students can tell when we walk the walk, and are more likely to embody these values when they see it modeled, or can tell it is modeled. Alumni being interviewed described instances when they saw responsible travel modeled as significant moments of learning. Modeling these values before students depart for their host communities is helpful in preparing students to actually embody them when on program. Modeling values both during and after the program is also helpful because it shows students that these values can influence the way they engage/live even when they are back home, beyond just their abroad experience.

Beyond the Boundaries of a Program

While the work of striving to travel responsibly on education abroad programs is crucial, we believe it is not enough. Recently, several members of the Dragons team attended The Forum on Education Abroad conference which focuses on the best practices in the field of education abroad. As part of that conference, we invited a long-time collaborator, Darren Grosch, from Mt. San Antonio College to help us facilitate a session in which we asked our colleagues from universities and colleges, study abroad program providers, government agencies, etc. to broaden our thinking about responsible travel. In short, we considered the following question which has become increasingly central for us at Dragons: “How do we model the values of responsible travel beyond the boundaries of a program?" In other words, are there ways our work can model values such as being environmentally responsible or developing mutual respect in communities for our students before or after they go, in the ways our offices approach particular things, or in the ways we develop other programming which is not abroad?
How do we model the values of responsible travel beyond the boundaries of a program?
At Dragons we have tried to do this through ensuring program budget funds go back into local communities, having staff policies which provide paid leave for volunteering in home communities, or by creating incentives to bike to work; to give a few examples. As part of our session, we asked our colleagues from across the U.S. and the world to consider how they are or could be modeling the values of responsible travel in their offices or on their home campuses. We asked them to think broadly - things they are doing (or want to be doing) with students before or after programs, actions that model values in the way their office operates or the standards leadership sets, or how they could collaborate with other departments / organizations / or communities.
we asked our colleagues from across the U.S. and the world to consider how they are or could be modeling the values of responsible travel in their offices or on their home campuses...

A Call To Action

As a culmination of this conversation, we encouraged our colleagues to commit to one action they felt they might be able to realistically accomplish in the coming year which would help their specific work environment better model the values of responsible travel. And commit they did! Included below are a number of the inspiring responses to this call to action.

Make Your Values Known

  • “Model responsible travel through inserting values into general study abroad recruitment tools, presentations, and initiatives.”
  • “Train peer ambassadors on the values of the larger office.”
  • “Use responsible travel values as a guide for marketing and promotion. Do the messages we put out contradict these values?”
  • “Create a handout for faculty who lead programs regarding what responsible travel means and how to model it.”
  • “Have the institution integrate responsible travel values in the larger mission statement and strategic vision.”
  • “Incorporate responsible travel questions and assessment process in the faculty-led program proposal process.”

Train Students Before they Go Abroad

  • “Adding responsible travel as a topic during pre-departure programming.”
  • “Facilitate conversations with students pre-departure on resource awareness and ethical travel habits.”
  • “Implement a responsible traveler workshop for faculty and students to compliment regular pre-departure training.”
  • “Create a credit-bearing course during pre-departure and returnee process to make students more accountable for their actions while abroad.”

Be a Student Yourself

  • “Provide staff with resources to learn the language and history of host countries where we oversee programs.”
  • “Provide on-campus language workshops: conversational skills taught by native speakers.”
  • “Train staff members to the tools and importance of preparation and reflection.”
  • “Offer opportunities for staff to learn indigenous culture, etiquette, and key phrases.”
  • “Provide language training to all staff.”
Create Spaces to Share Values Learned Abroad
  • “Create a re-entry session about modeling values learned during study abroad now that students are back on campus.”
  • “Have a workshop with students who have previously gone abroad to share lessons learned about responsible travel and cultural engagement.”
  • “Start an alumni panel as the peer models for responsible travel.”
Connect with the Local Community
  • “Invite and encourage return study abroad students to attend international student events and support their fellow students both at the home campus and abroad.”
  • “Develop programs that encourage students who have returned from study abroad to engage with the local community.”
  • “Train international students on the home campus to help lead pre-departure preparation for study abroad students going to those students’ home countries.”

Value the Contributions of Host Communities

  • “Hire local scholars in order to model the value of local expertise and counteract ‘savior’ narratives.”
  • “Create a formal feedback process for community partners - their opinion matters just as much as the students’.”
  • “Organize speakers from the Global South to be brought to the home institution for shared learning and exchange.”
  • “Incorporate host community feedback and perspectives via the assessment process.”
Focus on Sustainability Efforts
  • “Create a PDF for travelers on how specific actions can offset the carbon footprint per mile traveled.”
  • “Call together a sustainability working group for colleagues at the university.”
  • “Encourage students to have conversations about consumption.”
  • “Composting and more responsible recycling at headquarters office.”
  • “Collaborate with the on-campus programs and student organizations focused on sustainability to improve practices while abroad.”
In reading through these commitments to actions, it is clear that Dragons is not alone in believing that there are, indeed, numerous ways that we can model the values of responsible travel outside of direct programming. This discussion is an evolving one and one that we feel is essential to keep at the forefront of our mind. We are committed to continuing this exploration amongst our own team and within the field of education abroad. We hope you’ll join us in that conversation. 

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Per request, we're sharing a list of organizations (abroad and at home) with whom Dragons and many of our staff have worked.

We have generally found the organizations below responsible and reputable. But things (staff, management, mission) constantly change, so please be sure to do all your own due diligence as you pursue your Gap Year, international internship, independent study, or other abroad adventures!



Amnesty International Amnesty International (AI) is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights. AI’s vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. In pursuit of this vision, AI’s mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.   Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. Their researchers conduct fact- finding investigations into human rights abuses in all regions of the world. Human Rights Watch then publishes those findings in dozens of books and reports every year, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. This publicity helps to embarrass abusive governments in the eyes of their citizens and the world. Human Rights Watch then meets with government officials to urge changes in policy and practice—at the United Nations, the European Union, in Washington and in capitals around the world. In extreme circumstances, Human Rights Watch presses for the withdrawal of military and economic support from governments that egregiously violate the rights of their people. In moments of crisis, Human Rights Watch provides up-to-the-minute information about conflicts while they are underway. Refugee accounts, which were collected, synthesized and cross-corroborated by our researchers, helped shape the response of the international community to recent wars in Kosovo and Chechnya.   WWOOF: World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms WWOOF is dedicated to helping those who would like to volunteer on organic farms. The aims of WWOOF are to: enable people to learn first-hand about organic growing techniques, to enable town-dwellers to experience living and helping on a farm, to help farmers make organic production a viable alternative, to improve communications within the organic movement. WWOOF organizations compile a list of organic Host farms that welcome volunteer help. When you become a member of a WWOOF organization, you will be put in contact with these Host farms. It is then up to you to contact the Host farms that interest you and make your own arrangements with them. Many countries have a national WWOOF organization. To find out about WWOOFing in that county, you need to contact the national WWOOF organization directly. Comprehensively organized directory of volunteer abroad programs worldwide.   Conservation International A U.S.-based, international organization, Conservation International (CI) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. CI applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth’s richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high- biodiversity wilderness areas as well as important marine regions around the globe. With headquarters near Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents.   The Nature Conservancy The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive.   AmeriCorps AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects more than 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet our country’s critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. Through their service and the volunteers they mobilize, AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities throughout America, including: Tutoring and mentoring disadvantaged youth, Fighting illiteracy, Improving health services, Building affordable housing, Teaching computer skills, Cleaning parks and streams, Managing or operating after- school programs, Helping communities respond to disasters, Building organizational capacity. Full-time members who complete their service earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $4,725 to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans.   Oxfam International Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working together with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty, suffering and injustice. With many of the causes of poverty global in nature, the 13 affiliate members of Oxfam International believe they can achieve greater impact through their collective efforts. Oxfam International seeks increased worldwide public understanding that economic and social justice are crucial to sustainable development. We strive to be a global campaigning force promoting the awareness and motivation that comes with global citizenship while seeking to shift public opinion in order to make equity the same priority as economic growth. We seek to help people organize so that they might gain better access to the opportunities they need to improve their livelihoods and govern their own lives. We also work with people affected by humanitarian disasters, with preventive measures, preparedness, as well as emergency relief.   The Peace Corps The Peace Corps traces its roots to 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship. Since that time, more than 187,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have been invited by 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to in- formation technology and environmental preservation. Today’s Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development, and committing more than 1,000 new Volunteers as a part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities.   Idealist, a project of Action Without Borders Over 62,000 nonprofit and community organizations in 165 countries, which you can search or browse by name, location, or mission. Thousands of volunteer opportunities in your community and around the world, and a list of organizations that can help you volunteer abroad. Nonprofit Career Center on the web, with hundreds of job and internship listings. Resources to plan a successful community action.   Shambhala International Shambhala is a global community. There are more than 170 centres and groups around the world, as well as thousands of individual members. Shambhala Meditation Centres offer courses in meditation and other contemplative arts and disciplines, and also host community gatherings, celebrations, and family events. In community life, we endeavor to put into practice the principles of courage and compassion. This helps us to experience daily life as a constant opportunity for spiritual practice and social service.   Friends World Global College, Long Island University Global College’s mission is the development of well-educated world citizens, men and women from a broad spectrum of nationalities and social classes who participate in an undergraduate liberal arts program that enables them: to combine first-hand experience of diverse cultural realities with the critical study of academic disciplines and human and ecological problems; to test intellectual theories and skills against the demands of practice and service; to carry out specialized field study under expert guidance that synthesizes cross-cultural understanding; and to develop a broad world view and a level of achievement in a chosen field sufficient to prepare for a life of committed action in the interest of the world community.   Global Girlfriends Global Girlfriend is a unique fair trade boutique selling specialty hand-made gifts and goods made by women’s non-profit programs, women’s cooperatives worldwide and products that benefit women’s human rights. Many women worldwide try desperately to make a living selling their artisan quality handicrafts but find that they have little access to market opportunities. Through fair trade practices Global Girlfriend brings the works of these disadvantaged artisans straight to you.   Pachmana World Pachamama, A World of Artisans is a Fair Trade organization dedicated to working towards economic justice through educating consumers about the importance of purchasing Fair Trade products. We are increasing consumer awareness about corporate exploitation to end the use of sweatshops while building producer relationships worldwide to bring the public Fair Trade products to support people living under the poverty line.   International HIV/AIDS Alliance The mission of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (the Alliance) is to reduce the spread of HIV and meet the challenges of AIDS. We are committed to prevent HIV infection; improve access to treatment, care and support; and lessen the impact of AIDS. The vision of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (the Alliance) is of a world in which people do not die of AIDS. For us, this means a world where communities have brought HIV/AIDS under control by preventing the transmission of HIV, accessing and providing care and support, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic.   Teach For America Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity. Our mission is to enlist our nation’s most promising future leaders in the movement to eliminate educational inequality. In the short run, our corps members work relentlessly to ensure that more students growing up today in our country’s lowest- income communities are given the educational opportunities they deserve. In the long run, our alumni are a powerful force of leaders working from inside education and from every other sector to effect the fundamental changes needed to ensure that all children have an equal chance in life.   SERRV International As an active member of the international Fair Trade community, SERRV works with almost 100 producer groups in more than 40 countries, assisting in developing products and business practices that will assure that the women and men who make or raise these goods will receive a fair return for their work.   Braille without Borders Per WHO statistics, 161 million persons live with a disabling visual impairment, of whom 37 million are blind and 124 million are persons with low vision. Every 5 seconds someone becomes blind, every minute somewhere a child goes blind. About 90% of them live in developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Regions. Nearly 6 million of them are preschool and school age children, 90-95% of whom have no access to education. Braille Without Borders wants to empower blind people in these countries so they themselves can set up projects and schools for other blind people. In this way the concept can be spread across the globe so more blind and visually impaired people have access to education and a better future.   Room To Read Room to Read partners with local communities throughout the developing world to establish schools, libraries, and other educational infrastructure. We seek to intervene early in the lives of children in the belief that education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to ultimately improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries, and future generations. Through the opportunities that only an education can provide, we strive to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time. is a brand new online networking platform that connects people, ideas, organizations, and resources in one online ecosystem – Razoo. Though the website is currently closed to the general public for viewing, we’ve decided to open it up to a limited number of people who we think will be interested in getting involved at the ground level. Use Razoo to: promote your passions and raise awareness, educate and motivate the public, learn about new opportunities to serve and give, browse the community, see what others out there are saying and engage in meaningful networks. Reducing the amount of energy we use is critically important in the effort to stop global warming, and we can help you. With NativeEnergy, you can help finance and build new clean and renewable energy projects that help Native Americans and Alaska Natives create sustainable economic benefits, and that help America’s family farmers compete with agribusiness. These projects will displace electricity from fossil fuels and reduce other greenhouse gas emissions on your behalf, making up for the CO2 emissions you can’t avoid.  


The following collection of organizations (organized alphabetically and by country) that Dragons has developed relationships with over time in that region.


ADESPROC Libertad ADESPROC LIBERTAD GLBT is a Grassroots Community Association that promotes, in the framework of equity and human rights, the participation and advocacy of people from diverse sexual identities in different spheres of Bolivian Society (social, political, cultural and economic).  We offer individual and group development through institutional strengthening, community mobilization and the extension of support services.   BiblioWorks BiblioWorks is a nonprofit that promotes literacy and education. Our mission is to provide communities in need with tools and resources to develop sustainable literacy and educational programs through schools, libraries, and cultural institutions.   The Bolivian Institute for Human Development (IDH) IDH works to improve the quality of life of people, especially in rural areas, through research, education, and activism in the fields of public health, environment, and human rights. IDH is one of Bolivia’s leading organizations in research, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS. The organization focuses on prevention of sexually transmitted infections, sex education, and diversity and human rights education especially supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. Volunteer opportunities include prevention education in local schools, workshops with teachers, organizing and participating in local public health festivals, advocacy work within the local healthcare system, designing educational and promotional materials, grant-writing, web design, and general administrative support.       CEDIB -Center for Documentation and Información Bolivia CEDIB is a non-profit civil organization that offers information services and documentary consultation on social issues in Bolivia and Latin America with a critical perspective.   Foundation for Sustainable Development FSD achieves community-driven goals through asset-based development and international exchange in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. FSD International Development Internships are an opportunity for students and young professionals to gain hands-on experience in sustainable development and insight into other cultures that can only be obtained through participating in the work on the ground. The internships are thoughtfully designed to help you build your career while having a lasting impact on the people in the community in which you serve.   Fundación Abril The Abril Foundation is an organization based in Cochabamba, Bolivia founded in the wake of the Cochabamba Water Revolt.  We support a society in which the preservation and recovery of water is a common good, as well as liberation from labor exploitation through the collective and permanent actions of workers from the city and countryside. Our mission is to promote and collectively develop participatory, democratic and alternative processes in labor claims and in the management of water as a common good through actions of change based on organization, management, education, research and mobilized reporting.   The Gaia Pacha Foundation Gaia Pacha is a non-profit foundation that reflects the conviction and philosophy of life of people trained and committed to the fragile interactions between humans and nature. Gaia Pacha works with environmental themes, based on principles of ethics, transparency, justice, and solidarity.   Kusi Kuna Escuela Ecoactiva Kusi Kuna is a small alternative school and learning community that has a holistic approach that aims to teach to the whole student. Kusikuna strives to nurture the growth of young people in ways that prepare them to face the challenges of our modern world, grounded in respect for themselves, others, and the natural world. The learning approach seeks to cultivate critical and creative thinking, active participation in the learning process, and respect for diversity. Kusikuna works with children and families from a diversity of backgrounds, and the school is situated on a small farm with sustainable, ecological structures in a rural area. Students are placed in age groups and the school promotes creative learning styles and freedom of expression. Volunteer opportunities depend on the volunteer’s interest and skill set but could include developing an arts or music program, leading after-school and athletic activities, supporting the agro-ecology program, a teaching assistantship in the natural sciences, curriculum development, community and family outreach, and programs in environmental awareness.     Mujeres Creando Mujeres Creando, or Women Creating, if a feminist-activist group based out of La Paz.  They work to raise awareness around issues affecting women in Bolivia society through the press, radio, and direction action on the streets of Bolivia.  They also offer psychological, legal, and social support services to women.   Niños con Valor Our vision is to create new cycles of hope for neglected children of Bolivia. Our Mission: To see hope, healing and dignity flourish in Bolivian children, and instill values that they will multiply into society through the establishment of self-sustaining and scalable models of care.   Performing Life/ EnseñArte Performing Life’s mission is to help children and adolescents who are working and/or living on the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia to improve their daily lives and create better futures for themselves through the arts.  We empower youth by teaching them productive skills that keep them in school and away from drugs while improving their chances for economic independence.   ProMujer – Giving Women Credit Pro Mujer is a women’s development organization whose mission is to provide Latin America’s poorest women with the means to build livelihoods for themselves and futures for their families through micro-lending, business training, and healthcare support. Pro Mujer establishes sustainable micro-finance institutions that offer credit and training programs geared to the needs of poor, undereducated women who either operate a small business or would like to open one.   Teatro Trono, COMPA Teatro Trono is the “point of the lance”, of COMPA. It all started in 1989, as a result of the experience of working with street children initially within the framework of a government shelter, but, soon gained independence and autonomy so as to continue developing cultural activities for the children and youth of El Alto. Most of the initial members of Teatro Trono were once street children themselves. Over the years the group has developed an organization structured to respond to the activities that are offered to the public of El Alto: theatre, library, film shows and art exhibits. Four drama groups are currently active, one of them being a children’s group that was established at a boy’s foster home.   The Democracy Center Through a combination of research and analysis, training and support, and active campaigning, the Democracy Center works internationally to strengthen struggles for social, economic and environmental justice.  The Democracy Center is no longer based primarily in Bolivia, but still has a team working out of Cochabamba.   Infante – Integral Promotion of Women and Children Contribute to the promotion of human development and social justice so that the recipients of our different programs develop better conditions of family and social coexistence within the framework of respect for Human Rights.     Mano a Mano Our mission is to create partnerships with impoverished Bolivian communities that improve health and increase economic well-being.  We collaborate with Bolivian communities, municipal governments, and our counterpart organizations in Bolivia to build sustainable projects that improve quality of life for the long-term.  All of these projects are more than just constructing a building; there is a huge focus on training, education, and continuing community and government support to ensure that projects are used for their intended purpose and that the level of service remains high.  


Bhutan Nuns Foundation The BNF works to empower and educate Bhutanese girls and women, improving the living conditions and economic vitality of rural villages, and preserving Bhutan’s strong, sustainable culture as it faces rapid economic development. Despite the great contribution nuns make to society, Bhutan’s twenty-one nunneries receive nearly no support. They often lack basic sanitation, sleeping and cooking quarters, trained teachers and learning materials.   UWICER The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment is a Government-based research and training institute, fostering better stewardship of our natural heritage – land, water, air and species therein – through rigorous science based research and transmission of cutting-edge science results to field practitioners, environmental leaders and policy makers. UWICER’S efforts focus on four major focus areas: 1. Sustainable Forestry; 2. Conservation Biology; 3. Water Resources; and 4. Socio-Economics and Policy Sciences.  


PEPY (Promoting Education, emPowering Youth) PEPY was founded by ex-Dragons Instructor, Daniela Papi, in 2004 and focuses on youth leadership and supplementary education. Their programs are based on the premise that improving education, providing training, and stimulating creative ideas builds capacity for people to achieve their dreams, and provides opportunities for people to make the changes they want to see in their own communities.   Cambodia Children’s Trust (CCT) Estimates suggest that globally, there are 8 million children living in institutions and 80% of those children have at least one living parent. More than 60 years of international research has shown that growing up in institutions harms children. With 8 million children in the world growing up without the love, care and stability of a family, we are faced with a global crisis. CCT’s mission is to empower vulnerable children and families to escape the cycle of poverty. They facilitate family preservation programs, education initiatives, and capacity building in local communities.   Epic Arts Epic Arts is an international, inclusive arts organisation based in Cambodia and registered as a charity in the UK. They use the arts as a form of expression and empowerment to bring people with and without disabilities together. Epic Arts aims to promote the message that every person counts through our inclusive education, community and social enterprise programmes.   Friends-International Since 1994, Friends-International has been running projects worldwide for and with street children, attempting to reintegrate these children into their society. Friends-International works with street children in a developmental and sustainable perspective in accordance with the Convention of the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC). Support Offices are located in Europe and the USA with a Field Office located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.   Friends Without A Border Every child has the right to a healthy and loving life. Friends Without A Border is committed to improving the health and well-being of the children of Cambodia through Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) and the Capacity Building and Health Education Program (CBHEP). The mission of Angkor Hospital for Children is to provide nurturing pediatric care, medical education and community outreach.   Marine Conservation Cambodia MCC aims to protect Cambodia’s fragile marine environment from unsustainable fishing practices. By working with local communities, MCC have helped to established Cambodia’s first Marine Protected Area. They have many projects and volunteer/internship opportunities.   Sustainable Cambodia Sustainable Cambodia is working with the people of Cambodia, helping them create a better life for themselves and their children. The organization works at the grassroots level, effecting change community by community. We help Cambodian villages become self-sustaining communities where people want to live, with healthy water, good food, health care and education for the residents, where there is environmental and social responsibility and employment that allows them to sustain and continually improve their quality of life. We accomplish this through a unique participatory empowerment model, providing resources, assistance, training and education to the members of the community. This empowers the families to revitalize their community and economy, creating a self-sustaining quality of life. In return, the families commit to passing on the gift by helping other families and communities.   Tiny Toons The vision of Tiny Toons is for all youth in Cambodia and beyond to live healthy lives free of HIV and drugs, realize their full potential through educational and creative opportunities; to pursue their dreams and become positive leaders of tomorrow. Tiny Toon’s mission is to provide a safe, positive environment for at‐risk youth to channel their energy and creativity into the arts and education, empowering them to build self‐confidence in their daily lives, aim for better employment possibilities, and feel supported pursuing their dreams.   CHINA Pacific Environment Pacific Environment protects the living environment of the Pacific Rim by promoting grassroots activism, strengthening communities and reforming international policies. We dedicate over one-third of our budget each year to funding grassroots organizations on the front-lines of the environmental movement. We confront tax-payer funded banks that back oil, gas, mining and timber extraction and the companies that profit from these often environmentally-devastating projects. We support and encourage sustainable fishing, renewable energy and other initiatives that put environmental protection and communities first. We forge coalitions and partnerships with environmentalists and other community members around the Pacific Rim—building a united movement to deal with the global threats we face.”   Center for Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge (Yunnan, Southwest China) CBIK is a participatory learning organization, dedicated to biodiversity conservation and community livelihood development, as well as documentation of indigenous knowledge and technical innovations related to resource governance at community and watershed levels, which is supplementary for government works. The organization was established in 1995 as a membership non-profit organization. Its more than 100 members include research professionals, development practitioners and resource managers.   Trace Foundation Trace Foundation promotes the cultural continuity and sustainable development of Tibetan communities within China. In cooperation with government and other partners, we implement projects that improve the ability of local communities to meet their own needs. Working with government institutions, community organizations and individuals, we seek to integrate culture and development goals and bring about long-term social and environmental benefits. Projects supported by the foundation reflect our guiding principles, and currently fall within four program areas: culture, education, health care and rural development. Trace Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in New York City. It has no political or religious affiliations. Trace Foundation is funded entirely by personal donations and receives no money from government sources.   Ngak Mang International The Ngak Mang Institute was developed as a worldwide non-profit organization in 2000. Mission: To spearhead and support programs contributing to the preservation, development, and sustainability of Tibetan society for future generations. Vision: Ngak Mang USA is committed to making a positive impact on Tibetan communities across Amdo (Qinghai, Gansu), Kham (Sichuan, Yunnan), and U-Tsang (Tibet). Internationally, the United States office focuses on initiatives benefiting Tibetan culture, educational instruction and outreach, health and wellness, economic and societal development, and the environment. Domestically, Ngak Mang USA spearheads programs which educate Americans about Tibet and promote the study of Tibetan Traditional Medicine and Massage. NMI welcomes active participation from its members to work towards its objectives. Together, we can work to promote the social development of Tibet as we inherit and carry forward Ngakpa culture worldwide.   Friends of China Foundation Friends of China Foundation, Ltd., (FOC) was founded in 1987, primarily to facilitate the recruitment of English Teachers for Chinese Universities. FOC is registered in Hong Kong, and has a charitable status. Since 1987 FOC has developed and changed to meet China’s own growth and development. In addition to recruiting teachers of English, it now: Facilitates the supply of teachers of other subjects, both short and long term, Facilitates visits by foreign experts in various fields, Introduces students of Mandarin and minority languages, Provides short-term English teachers, Provides training programs for Middle School and High School English teachers, Facilitates short-term Mandarin language study programs, Participates in rural community development projects and rural education projects   Surmang Foundation Enabling the right to life, creating access to basic services, contributing to revitalization among the critically poor. According to the Chinese National People’s Congress, there is a crisis in providing healthcare to the agricultural sector in China. The places with the lowest tax bases— the rural areas— are experiencing a net decline in wealth and attendant health services. Among the poorest of those in rural China are the ethnic Tibetans. Today they stand poised at a crossroads not dissimilar to that of the Plains Indians in the late 19th century. Surmang provides a window into all rural Tibetan life. The Foundation’s efforts support the acute needs of the extremely poor and remote peoples of Western China and in particular the far-flung Surmang region.   Heart to Heart Community Care Heart to Heart Community Care (HHCC) is a non-profit organization that provides services to migrant workers and their families in Kunming, Yunnan, China. In the wake of urbanization and industrialization in China, rural residents are migrating to the cities to work. Most of them are engaged in low-income jobs. Migrant workers often face great challenges and difficulties in seeking proper and fair employment; they often struggle to improve their quality of living and to ensure a better future for members of their families. Heart to Heart Community Care’s vision is to work hand-in-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder with the migrant worker community to improve their quality of life and help them attain dignity, personal value and social security.   Village Progress Village Progress works together with underprivileged communities in rural and urban China to promote health, conservation and education initiatives. Village Progress leads teams of international volunteers and partnered non-profit organizations on health care, creative education and experiential learning projects.   TERMA Foundation The Terma Foundation is a nonsectarian humanitarian organization whose creative programs combine indigenous and western knowledge to confront the enormous health crisis now affecting the six million Tibetans within China. Tibet is one of the few remaining ancient, nonviolent civilizations. Its future—its children and its culture—affects our global community. One million Tibetan children are at risk of dying from disease and malnutrition. Their deaths are preventable. Founded in 1993 as the Tibet Child Nutrition Project (TCNP), the Terma Foundation now implements public health programs including nutrition, education, primary and preventive health care, acknowledging traditional belief systems, and integrating low- tech, low-cost western technology where appropriate. Terma’s work in the TAR and adjacent ethnic Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China is carried out by a multidisciplinary coalition of Tibetans, Chinese, and westerners in successful cooperation with PRC nationals and local health authorities.   Plateau Perspectives Plateau Perspectives is an international NGO that promotes regional conservation and sustainable community development in the Tibetan Plateau region of China. In Qinghai Province, our main geographic focus, Plateau Perspectives works closely with the government and local civil society (i.e., non-government organizations, or NGOs) to protect the headwaters, or source areas, of the Yangtze, Yellow and Mekong Rivers, promote sustainable livelihoods in this fragile alpine environment, and enhance the provision of social services for Tibetan pastoralists.  


AMA Asociación de Mujeres del Altiplano – Association of Women form the Altiplano We are an association of grassroots women with roots in the cooperative movement. We have consolidated ourselves into a federation of 15 indigenous communities that watch over the empowerment of each of our members, strengthening our entrepreneurial capacities, good administration, care for natural resources, community participation and participation, respect for values and Cultural, economic and social rights according to our cosmovision and Mayan system of government.  We empower the most isolated and marginalized women in the highlands through community organization, education, resources and alliances to achieve a life with dignity and initiate sustainable development processes through learning popular techniques. Ak’tenamit Grassroots Community Indigenous Organization dedicated to appropriate vocational training, preventive and curative health and sustainable economic development.  This is a Maya Q'eqchí community in the department of Izabal. Their work mainly focuses on preparing members (especially youth) to have more job opportunities. They are located in a paradisiacal place on the Tatín River, which not only offers insight into a community with a long history of struggle but also rich biological diversity and nature exploration. Education for the Children, School of Hope Education for the Children is an international NGO based in Guatemala. We run the School of Hope, a Primary and Secondary School where we educate 462 impoverished children and support another 215 further education students. We work with disadvantaged children and their families to break the cycle of poverty through education and empowerment. Familias de Esperanza (Common Hope) Common Hope promotes hope and opportunity in Guatemala, partnering with children, families, and communities who want to participate in a process of development to improve their lives through education, health care, and housing.  Common Hope works in the Antigua area to combat malnutrition and provide educational support services to low-income children and families. They try to work with the whole family and community in order to combat the roots of socio-economic vulnerability. Garden of Hope The Garden of Hope is a community permaculture garden providing children and youth with a space to connect with nature, foster joy, and develop life skills.  The Garden of Hope provides gardening classes throughout our region of Sacatepéquez. Our curriculum is creative, hands on and based in permaculture principles. Our environmental education program strives to make our outdoor classroom space and services accessible for anyone. We impart classes to students of all ages and backgrounds. Additionally Garden of Hope works in the areas of community development and nutrition and social enterprise.   IMAP – Institute for Mesoamerican Permaculture The Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute (Instituto Mesoamericano de Permacultura – IMAP) is a non-profit organization based in Guatemala. It was founded in 2000 by a group of local people concerned by the serious environmental, social and cultural problems affecting the nation. They established an ecological education center to promote permaculture techniques, local biodiversity conservation, production of organic food, and a seed bank that strives to reconstruct the Mayan seed heritage.  IMAP develops the practical skills and awareness needed to ensure food sovereignty, community development and the preservation of biodiversity and ancestral knowledge. La Cambalacha La Cambalacha is a cultural project that operates as a permanent creativity workshop for the instruction, exhibition, production and exchange of the different forms of creative expression.  La Cambalacha was founded in 2002 by Gabriela Cordón, a native Guatemalan dancer and choreographer. With the help of hundreds of volunteers from around the world, La Cambalacha has reached thousands of children, and trained several generations of Youth Leaders.  Programs are now coordinated by local Youth Leaders who have grown up in the project. We are based in the Mayan village of San Marcos La Laguna, Lago Atitlán, Guatemala. Qachuu Aloom (Madre Tierra) Qachuu Aloom is a non-profit organization that promotes integral community development and the strengthening of individual and collective capacities through traditional and/or agro-ecological agriculture. Qachuu Aloom works primarily to rescue native and creole seeds, and therefore improve conditions of food sovereignty and security in the Rabinal Baja Verapaz region.   Starfish Guatemala Starfish unlocks and maximizes the potential of young women to lead transformational change.  We believe in empowerment, equality, and opportunity for all. We are contributing to the global movement for gender equity and girls’ education by unlocking and maximizing the potential of young women to lead transformational change.  Through an intentional, holistic program, we provide access to high-quality education; intensive, ongoing support from peers and mentors; financial assistance for higher education and entrepreneurship opportunities; and a diverse knowledge base centered around core competencies to ensure that each young woman can realize her full potential and create systemic change. Safe Passage/Camino Seguro, (Antigua, Guatemala) Our mission is to empower the poorest, at-risk children of families working in the community of the Guatemala City garbage dump, by creating opportunities and fostering dignity through the power of education. Opportunities to volunteer, raise money, donate supplies and sponsor individual children. Entremundos EntreMundos is a non-profit organization which supports and helps local communities non-profits increase their capacity while respecting their principles and values. EntreMundos is an intermediary which facilitates and connects organizations and volunteers, both national and international, with the objective of maximizing the impact of each organization. It is a our aim to link socially and culturally active organizations in Guatemala together with useful resources, and to provide a forum and information center for people wishing to become involved in social, cultural and political projects. We believe in the value of volunteer work for community and project development.   Proyecto La Pedrera La Pedrera is an indigenous community located on the rocky hills of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Most adults speak the indigenous language k’iche’ as their mother tongue, while their children often only speak Spanish. Lacking education, the people of La Pedrera have access to employment only in domestic and physical labor. These low-paying jobs provide barely enough income for crude shelter and little food, leaving families unable to afford the expenses of sending their children to public schools. Opportunities to support the school, sponsor individual children and/or volunteer.   Chico Mendez Project Chico Mendes reforestation group has recognized the need to reforest the region and is actively combating the destructive effects of deforestation. Inspired by and named after the Brazilian community land activist, Chico Mendes grows and plants trees to insure the sustainability of their community. Founded four years ago by local community members, Chico Mendes has evolved into a committed group of six members, and receives support from the international community through volunteers and financial assistance for materials. With a goal of growing and caring for 100,000 trees this year, Chico Mendes will be able to support the reforestation of nine hectares of land. Members of Chico Mendes are also building consciousness among the local community.   ARCAS: Animal Rehabilitation and Protection, (Peten and Monterrico) ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes. It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan Government. Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 to 600 of more than 35 species per year.   Mayan Families: Panajachel, (Lake Atitlan) provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters. We do so irrespective of race, creed or religion. We work within the Indigenous Mayan Communities on projects ranging from enrolling and keeping kids, especially girls, in school, helping single parent families deal with HIV/AIDS, Malnutrition, Basic Health Care, organizing Medical and Dental Clinics, Animal Rescue and so much more. Our projects are varied but because we have lived and been involved with indigenous community life in Guatemala for many years we find ourselves able to respond in a personal way to the immediate and actual needs as they appear.  


Guria Sansthan: Since 1993, Guria Sansthan has been fighting to end human trafficking and exploitation in Varanasi’s red light district and throughout India. Ajeet Singh, Guria’s founder, has been an ambitious, courageous, and unrelenting champion of human rights. Ajeet was named The Week Magazine’s 2011 ‘Man of the Year’, and received the prestigious ‘Nari Shakti’ Award from the Indian President in 2015 on behalf of the Guria team, among many other accolades. Guria pursues a holistic, grass-roots approach aimed at ending child prostitution, preventing second generation prostitution, and stopping human trafficking; their multi-pronged approach includes groundbreaking legal work fighting against traffickers and providing support and protection to victims and witnesses, advocacy, rescue operations for trafficked persons, education and livelihoods programs for vulnerable children and victims, and “Freedom Now”, a worldwide campaign that raises awareness about issues of trafficking through art and education.   SECMOL The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded in 1988 by a group of Ladakhi college students who felt that the education system needed great change. For many years, SECMOL worked on reforming the government school system. At the same time, SECMOL Campus grew into a eco-village where students, staff and volunteers live, work and learn together. It’s not a conventional school, but a place to pursue practical, environmental, social and traditional knowledge, values and skills. The Campus is solar powered and solar heated; students learn ancient Ladakhi songs, dance and history alongside modern academic knowledge; and the students mainly manage, run and maintain the campus. SECMOL strives to equip young Ladakhis and others growing up in Ladakh, especially those from rural or disadvantaged backgrounds, with the knowledge, skills, perspective, and confidence to choose and build a sustainable future.   AUROVILLE Universal Township (Pondicherry) UNESCO recognized “universal township” dedicated to practically researching sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind. Many opportunities to volunteer or intern in the fields of environment, arts and more.   SEVA Seva (say-va) is a Sanskrit word for service. Seva Foundation was formed in 1978 with a mission to alleviate suffering caused by disease and poverty. Our approach is to build partnerships that respond to locally defined problems with culturally sustainable solutions. Seva currently works to: Prevent blindness and restore sight in India, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tanzania and Guatemala. Help indigenous communities in Guatemala and Mexico develop their capacity to meet basic needs and create solutions to poverty and injustice. Support Native American projects across the U.S. in the areas of health and wellness, community development, environmental protection and cultural preservation. Seva’s work is made possible by the generosity of donors, foundations, volunteers and friends — all joined together in the spirit of service.   Human Development Foundation of Sikkim (HDFS) (Sikkim) Works to ensure that disadvantaged children get access to good quality education that is relevant and useful to them. Taking into account the reality of children’s lives HDFS provides solutions to the problems they face. We at HDFS lay the foundation for the long-term development of the children and enable them and their communities to become self-reliant.   The dZi Foundation The dZi Foundation develops sustainable programs that positively impact individuals and communities located primarily within the Himalayan region. Our work is focused in the areas of education, health and welfare. These programs are designed to serve within the existing social framework, maintaining particular sensitivity to local culture and tradition. Within its mission, the foundation INITIATES programs, PARTNERS with projects that have proven track records, and FUNDS programs where financial restrictions are the only barrier to positive change. In 2006, the dZi Foundation will undertake 28 projects in Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Pakistan, Ecuador and Peru.  


Bumi Langit Bumi Langit is a permaculture organization. The activities in Bumi Langit Farm are managed by Bumi Langit Trust Foundation, an Islamic awqaf foundation established in May 2014 with the objective to help establish civil society through training and education in relation to the development of a Sunnatullah living.   Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) IVAA actively collects art archives through documentation and exploration, and facilitates research through its online archive and physical space in Yogyakarta. IVAA advances the idea of an alternative space that distinguishes contemporary art dynamics in the post-Reformation era. It documents the growth of alternative art practices in cities that may have otherwise been left unrecognised by the government.   INSISTPress INSIST focuses on social transformation broadly, and they have a press that publishes critical social research on a variety of cultural and developmental issues   Samsara Samsara aims to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health and promoting bodily integrity and autonomy. Samsara organizes safe reproductive healthcare for women, including access to safe abortions.   SURVIVE!Attacks SURVIVE!Attacks is an art project initiated by SURVIVE!Garage. Artists – who don’t need to be implicitly be directly involved in SURVIVE!Garage – are invited to join this collaboration project. SURVIVE!Attacks is mostly a response to certain issues in form of art. By that it is not only about the art itself but includes working with data, speakers and doing research about certain topics. The artworks of the participating artists are  single entity in the same theme.   Taman Baca Kesiman Taman Baca is a public intellectual and permaculture organization that puts on lectures, discussions, and performances in their community space and library in Kesiman, Denpasar  


Big Brother Mouse A great organisation that helps eager young people get a better education, with high-quality books and exciting, interactive schools.   The Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise (COPE) Since its creation in 1996, COPE has worked in close partnership with Lao Ministry of Health rehabilitation centres to provide nationwide physical rehabilitation services. COPE works with rehabilitation professionals at the Centre for Medical Rehabilitation (CMR) in Vientiane and four Provincial Rehabilitation Centres. Thanks to COPE’s supporters, thousands of people with mobility-related disabilities, including UXO survivors, have received prosthetic and orthotic services free of charge, allowing them to regain mobility and dignity.   The Global Association for People and the Environment (GAPE) GAPE is a small nonprofit organization, established in 1999, with a focus on the Mekong Region of Southeast Asia. Their mission is to assist people to develop their own potential in an ecologically sensitive and socially just manner. They do this broadly by implementing and coordinating community development and environmental conservation programs and facilitating people-centred learning through supporting community based education programs, with an emphasis on ecological issues.   Lao Disabled Women's Development Centre The Center is a non-profit organisation, approved by the Lao Ministry of Social Welfare and Labour, which is staffed by disabled women for disabled women. Their vision is to be a successful organization of people with disabilities in Lao P.D.R. and empower people to engage their abilities by accessing education and employment.   Participatory Development Training Centre (PADECT) PADECT aims to encourage people to eradicate suffering by building-up a happy life through holistic educational development, which promotes all values of life without avoiding inconvenient truths. To build access to a just Lao society and education for all communities and the new generation.   Terraclear TerraClear is a social enterprise located in the Lao PDR. They focus on overcoming financial, common practice, and technological barriers to clean drinking water. TerraClear is the first and only scalable producer of household water filter products in the Lao PDR.   The Wildlife Conservation Society The Wildlife Conservation Society program in Lao PDR supports communities and government institutions to protect wildlife and natural habitats around the country by raising public awareness on the value of wildlife, training protected area managers, and building a foundation of human resource capacity and knowledge in conservation.  


ZARA AINA Zara Aina means “share life” in Malagasy, the language of Madagascar. Broadway actors Lucas Caleb Rooney and Bryce Pinkham founded Zara Aina in 2012 to help at-risk children in Madagascar harness the transformative power of theatrical storytelling and performance to expand their capacity for achievement, invest in their sense of possibility, and recognize their potential.   ASA Providing free job training in 8 sectors to less privileged young parents throughout Madagascar. Each year, 20 new families commit to "the great adventure". After three years, the family has been provided with the education and tools necessary to farm their own land.   FOYER DE VIE: A nursing center for abandoned elderly people.   AKAMASOA by Father PEDRO The AKAMASOA Humanitarian Association was created in 1989 to help the poor people of Antananarivo, who lived on the Andralanitra landfill and in the streets of the capital . Its purpose was to get these people out of the inhuman places where they lived, so that they lead a human life with dignity. After 26 years of fighting, AKAMASOA has helped 500,000 Malagasy. 3,000 houses have been built, and 25,000 people live in our villages. Each of these villages includes schools, a dispensary and workplaces for adults: quarry, masonry, carpentry, agriculture, crafts. 12,162 children are enrolled in our schools. And in 2004 , our association was recognized by the State as Public Utility , which confirms the necessity of its presence and its action in the general social functioning of the island.   REEF DOCTOR We marry conservation with social development by facilitating sustainable livelihoods and education as a countermeasure to over-exploitation. Our goal is to protect both marine and terrestrial habitats, and provide a self-sustaining pathway to poverty alleviation in the impoverished rural communities of Southwest Madagascar. We have worked in the Bay of Ranobe for 15 years, establishing long-standing harmony and effective partnerships with local communities.   BLUE VENTURES Blue Ventures develops transformative approaches for catalysing and sustaining locally led marine conservation. We rebuild tropical fisheries in collaboration with coastal communities.We work in places where the ocean is vital to local cultures and economies, and are committed to protecting marine biodiversity in ways that benefit coastal people.   World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) WWF is one of the world’s largest conservation organizations. Their missions is to stop the degradation of the environment and to build a future in which humans life in harmony with nature. To achieve this, WWF looks to implement concrete and sustainable solutions to pressing and emerging environmental issues throughout the world in partnership with local communities, companies, governments, international organizations, NGOs. In Madagascar, their goal is to manage properly the natural capital for the benefit of its people and the nature.  


The High Atlas Foundation, (Casablanca & New York) The High Atlas Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps to establish community development projects in rural Morocco. HAF assists in implementing projects that communities design and manage, and that are in partnership with government and non-government agencies. HAF’s strategy to achieve this mission includes: 1. Raising funds (through proposals and events) to support projects in potable water, irrigation, tree planting, school construction, and women’s cooperatives 2. Creating training programs to transfer skills in participatory development facilitation 3. Mobilizing broad based support, particularly in the Unites States for implementing projects.”   Amal Center A non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of disadvantaged women through restaurant training and job placement. Amal’s ultimate goal is personal transformation and developing job and life skills for our trainees to eventually achieve economic and social stability. Our program offers the trainees a platform where they can enhance their capacities and learn new skills. When trainees are selected they start a six-month training program to learn all aspects of the restaurant industry in order to secure a job. They will go through different kitchen stations to learn essentials such as salads, sauces, desserts, cooking, baking, cleaning and serving. In addition, they will attend classes to learn hygiene, security, service, French, English and other soft skills. The trainees will go to an internship after six months of training. At completion, Amal finds the graduates jobs in restaurants, hotels, riads or private homes that will allow them to be financially independent. Amal takes care of living expenses during the whole period of the training, provided that the trainee respects the regulations and discipline of Amal. Amal does not ask the trainees to pay anything for the program, before or after their time at Amal. Amal does not get paid by anyone to do this work. Amal is a self-sustained social entity that strives to make positive change in women’s lives.  


Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact AIPP is committed to the cause of promoting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights and human rights and articulating issues of relevance to indigenous peoples. AIPP strengthens the solidarity, cooperation and capacities of indigenous peoples in Asia to promote and protect their rights, cultures and identities, and their sustainable resource management systems for their development and self-determination.   Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) AAPP, is a human rights organization based in Mae Sot, Thailand, with recently opened offices in Rangoon and Mandalay, Burma. AAPP advocates for the release of all remaining political prisoners in Burma and for the improvement of their quality of life during and after incarceration. AAPP has developed rehabilitation and assistance programs for those political activists who have been released while continuing to document the ongoing imprisonment of political activists in Burma.   The Arakan Human Rights and Development Organisation (AHRDO) AHRDO researches and documents human rights violations and environmental and cultural abuses throughout Arakan State as well as the situation of the Arakanese people with regards to education, healthcare, safety, ability to make a livelihood, and the social, economic, and political situation of the Arakanese population.   Burma Rivers Network (BRN) BRN is comprised of organizations representing various dam-affected communities in Burma. Their mission is to protect the health and biodiversity of river ecosystems, and to protect the rights of communities negatively impacted by large-scale river development. BRN seek a country in which the rights of peoples and communities to their rivers and natural resources are respected, protected, and promoted. We believe that consumption and distribution of resources must be based on principles of ecological sustainability and social justice.   Centre for Social Integrity CSI facilitates active and participatory citizenship in Myanmar by focusing on youth, particularly those from marginalized and underrepresented communities. CSI equips youth to become change agents in their communities by training them on subjects including leadership, conflict resolution, democracy, pluralism, human rights, civilian protection, community development, project cycle management, advocacy, and community mobilization.   Myanmar Center for Responsible Business The Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business is an initiative to encourage responsible business activities throughout Myanmar. The Centre is a joint initiative of the Institute for Human Rights and Business and the Danish Institute for Human Rights. Based in Yangon, it aims to provide a trusted, impartial forum for dialogue, seminars, and briefings to relevant parties as well as access to international expertise and tools.   Prospect Burma Prospect Burma provide scholarships to committed and visionary people from Myanmar to gain skills and expertise to shape the country they want to live in. Scholars are dedicated to making positive and lasting change to their communities and to Myanmar. They invest in education to ensure our students receive the skills and expertise the country needs.   Ta'ang Women’s Organization Ta’ang Women’s Organisation (TWO) works to raise and document human rights issues of the Ta’ang Women of Myanmar. TWO provides gender and human rights training to Ta’ang women and their communities; increases international and community knowledge of the Ta’ang people; their history and cultures and raises awareness of the human rights abuses suffered by the Ta’ang people. TWO’s programs include a political empowerment program, an internship program, an Eliminating Violence Against Women (EVAW) program and an income generation program.  


PHASE Worldwide & PHASE Nepal PHASE Worldwide works to improve health, education and create livelihood opportunities for disadvantaged populations in extremely isolated Nepalese Himalayan villages. Empowerment is the key underpinning aspect of all of their work, supporting communities to a level of self-sufficiency and empowering people to access services themselves and thereby creating sustainable change.   Free A Child Free A Child is a nonprofit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, with programs in Nepal and the United States dedicated to preventing the exploitation and trafficking of individuals into the U.S. and global sex trade. Free A Child partners with established, proven local organizations to deliver micro-economic aid and prevention education to girls and young women in Nepal who are in danger of being sold into the brothels of India. And in May 2006, Free A Child launched its U.S. Program in Denver, Colorado to empower homeless youth who are at-risk to exploitation and trafficking in our own community.   Educate the Children International The mission of Educate the Children, a registered non-profit organization is to provide educational and development opportunities for children, women, and communities in Nepal, enabling them to gain new skills to improve their lives.   Next Generation Nepal An anti-trafficking organisation reuniting children and families - they often come to speak to our programs and they are a big fan of Dragons.   Hamro Palo (Her Turn) Organisation working on girls' empowerment that often come as guest speakers  on Dragons programs in this region.  


Association “Los Quinchos” Founded in 1991 in Nicaragua by Zelinda Roccia, an Italian woman, the ’Los Quinchos’ project gives hospitality to abandoned and mistreated children. It has an articulate and dynamic structure based on the passionate work of around forty people counting educators, psychologists, craftsmen, assistants and administration personnel, all of whom are Nicaraguan. The goal is to reinsert children in their own society offering them access to human rights they have been denied up to now: the right to a peaceful childhood and the knowledge of their rights and duty as future citizens.   Center for Understanding with Nature (CEN: Centro de Entendimiento con la Naturaleza) 15 years ago, a few scientists took a poor piece of land and transformed it into a forest. The transformation was incredible, as the land became wetter and cooler. It brought back water to an area that had started to erode and lose its nutrients.  This is a research and training center that works mainly in the humid premontane tropics, in addition to having experience in the humid basal tropics and in the dry tropics. Our team believes deeply in the need to create development with legitimacy through institutional strengthening and participation, placing emphasis on women, youth, and indigenous and rural populations for historical reasons.  The Center for Understanding with Nature is not a development NGO, it is an environmental and institutional management center that supports and accompanies training and advisory processes, having as partners indigenous peoples, peasant organizations and municipal governments. CEN works primarily in the areas of Ecological Restoration, Forest Agriculture, Water Systems, Apculture, and Medicinal Plants and Healing.     Colibrí Spanish School – Matagalpa We are located in Matagalpa, the central northern zone of Nicaragua, named the production capital of the country. Matagalpa is a coffee-producing region which is off the beaten tourist path, a community of friendly locals tucked between rolling green mountains. We offer credentialed, native Spanish language teachers who are open-minded and able to engage in critical discussions. We are a team of trained professionals who are excited to engage in cultural exchange.   Grupo Venancia – Popular Feminist Communication and Education We are a women's collective that facilitates feminist education and popular communication processes in Matagalpa, north-central region of Nicaragua. We were born in 1991 to contribute to the development of the women's movement in Nicaragua, strengthening autonomy and personal growth, supporting the integration of urban and rural women, youth and adults and creating spaces for the confluence of the diversity of identities.  We are a feminist collective that promotes reflection, articulation and collective action in a creative and horizontal way to achieve a life of freedom, fullness and good treatment.   La Garnacha La Garnacha is a community and natural reserve, which has a core area of ​​22 thousand hectares. Inside it there is a cheese factory, the "zopilote" stone handicraft workshop, an earthworm farm, a shelter, a seedbed of medicinal plants, a goat farm, a ranch where they sell natural refreshments and coffee harvested in the area, and a store where all these products are sold. It also has a viewpoint to the Apaguajil Hill, the Cave of the Goblins and an impressive view of the Pacific of Nicaragua.  La Garnacaha is located approximately 15 kilometers from the city of Estelí and 145 kilometers from Managua, at 1,400 meters above sea level.   Project Bona Fide Project Bona Fide promotes food security and sustainable living systems on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua through permaculture design, agroforestry, research & education, and community collaboration. We educate and expose people locally and worldwide to the possibilities of multi-strata food production through demonstrative agriculture on our 26-acre model farm.  Our vision is to provide people with the necessary knowledge and skills to empower them to produce their own food in a more sustainable manner and live more intentionally in their own environments.   Sister Communities of San Ramón SCSRN partners with San Ramón, Nicaragua to support education and community development initiatives that build friendship, understanding, environmental preservation, and respect for human rights. We develop education and community development projects which address community-identified needs in San Ramón.  We also promote Eco-tourism, hands-on cultural immersion travel, community service and experiential learning.  


ACEER Foundation The mission of the ACEER Foundation is to promote conservation of the Peruvian Amazon by fostering awareness, understanding, action, and transformation. This is achieved by initiating environmental education programs, supporting basic and applied research, and protecting unique tracts of land. There are many ways that you can support the ACEER Foundation: sponsor an ¡Amigos! school, become a sponsor of ACEER, or make a donation.   Aldea Yanapay Aldea Yanapay is a self-sustaining community whose mission is to provide children, adolescents, families and society with alternative education and conscious development based on tolerance, responsible love, spirituality and respect for the planet.  Aldea Yanapay, as a social project, works with volunteers from around the world who give their love and affection unselfishly in our schools for children and adolescents in Cusco (city) and in Lamay (Sacred Valley) and in various areas, in addition to education, such as marketing, economics, psychology, etc.   Alianza Arkana Alianza Arkana is a grassroots, intercultural organization committed to the protection, development and wellbeing of the Peruvian Amazon and the Shipibo-Konibo peoples. We work by establishing grassroots alliances with indigenous and international partners, through the implementation of community-based models of sustainability. Through these models we aim to: strengthen stewardship of vital ecosystems, honor ancestral wisdom and actively integrate it into our methodologies, preserve cultural identity and traditions through true intercultural education, and stand in solidarity with our allies for environmental and social justice.   Amazon Conservation Association The Amazon Conservation Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization legally incorporated in the United States and Bolivia, with offices in Peru. The directors and staff are experienced tropical ecologists and conservationists. Our goal is to conserve biodiversity through development of new scientific understanding, sustainable resource management and rational land-use policy for the Amazon Basin systems.   ARC Amazon “Alliance For Research and Conservation in the Amazon.”  Arcamazon is a Peruvian non-profit organization. We aim to increase the value of the Amazon, to conserve and protect it, and to connect people with rainforests.  The organization was created in 2014 by eleven conservationists with a common passion for the Peruvian Amazon and a hope to protect the Las Piedras River and wilderness area.   Association for Children and the Environment, ANIA, (Lima) We promote socially responsible values and practices among children. We develop initiatives that favor the active involvement of boys and girls in the improvement of their environment through a participatory and inclusive methodology based on motivation, creation of safe and healthy spaces, orientation and acknowledgment.   Awamaki Awamaki creates lasting impact in the remote mountains of Peru by helping rural Andean women’s associations launch successful small businesses creating authentic, high-quality products and experiences. Awamaki invests in women’s skills, connects them to market access and supports their leadership so they can increase their income and transform their communities.   Fauna Forever Our mission is to build a world where nature conservation and sustainability thinking are cornerstones of a society's development and wellbeing, resulting in a healthy and prosperous Planet Earth for everyone.  Fauna Forever works primarily in biological research and conservation in the Puerto Maldonado region of the Peruvian Amazon.   Peruvian Hearts Peruvian Hearts works to end poverty and gender inequality by educating young women and creating community leaders in Peru—one girl at a time. Peruvian-born Ana Dodson developed this nonprofit organization to enable young women to embrace education, believe in their own power, and dream of a life beyond the conditions into which they were born.   The Mountain Institute The Mountain Institute’s mission is to advance mountain cultures and preserve mountain environments. Founded in 1972, The Mountain Institute is based in Washington, DC, and has offices and community-based programs in the Andean, Appalachian and Himalayan mountain ranges, partnering with local people to strengthen their communities and to conserve their natural resources and cultural heritage. Our objectives are to: conserve high priority mountain eco-systems, increase environmentally and culturally sustainable livelihoods for mountain communities, promote support for mountain cultures and issues through advocacy, education and outreach.   Sacred Valley Health The mission of Sacred Valley Health is to promote health in the underserved rural communities of Peru’s Sacred Valley. Our vision is: Rural inhabitants of Peru’s Sacred Valley have access to quality health care services; Partnerships with government and NGOs maximize access to resources; Every community has at least one trained promotora de salud (community health worker); Each promotora serves as an agent of change and health advocate for his or her community. The pillars of our work are Access, Education, and Empowerment   Sacred Valley Project The mission of the Sacred Valley Project is to provide boarding and supplementary education for young women from low income families in remote areas of the Andes so that they can continue and complete their secondary education.  


Tostan Tostan, which means “breakthrough” in the language of the Wolof of Senegal and the Gambia, is a non-profit and non- governmental organization incorporated in the United States in 1991 and based in Thiès, Senegal. The mission of Tostan is to contribute to the human dignity of African people through the development and implementation of a non-formal, participatory education program in national languages. Tostan provides learners with the knowledge and skills to become confident, resourceful actors in the social transformation and economic development of their communities.   Eco-Yoff with Global Eco-Network (GEN) An African urban district designed for sustainability, recognizing the relationships among community, the natural environment, and the built environment. This Yoff Ecocommunity program aims at creating a center for excellence in action, research, and education in sustainable development. While promoting sustainable development in Yoff, the surrounding region, and Western Africa, EcoYoff is shared by the village association APECSY. This organization is constructing an ecovillage, APECSY Yoffhabitat. The local government of the Commune d’Arrondissement of Yoff - Dakar, hosts its local government planning database (SIUP), and the NGO, CRESP Senegal, is responsible for internships, research, education, and email coordination. Alliance Francaise Many different US cities have AF centers. They host language and culture classes. Although they do focus on France, they also offer programming about the wider Francophone world.   ImagiNation Afrika Based in Dakar, Senegal.  A start-up NGO focused on expanding paradigms around learning, around play, and around what African child-centered spaces look and feel like. Through its exhibitions, programs and playspaces, promotes a culture of critical thinking and impacts how children perceive themselves and their abilities to contribute to the economic and social well-being of their culture and context. The organization’s core values of thinking globally and acting locally have allowed it, in conjunction with local partners, to create and maintain spaces that spark imagination through activities and hands-on learning for more than 8,000 children.   World Vision World Vision Senegal uses a community-based approach working closely with children, households, communities, local authorities and partners. We listen to families, understand their issues, and empower communities with skills and resources that bring lasting change for children. We serve most the vulnerable children and families through a multi-sector programmatic approach in health and nutrition, education and life skills, food security and resilience, advocacy, child protection and participation and local leadership development.   Aide et Action Aide et Action International Africa is an organization that works to promote access for all to quality education. Aide et Action now develops nearly 90 projects throughout Africa centered around 9 main areas of intervention. Their goal: to act on the obstacles that hinder access to knowledge and knowledge. Because without education, without awareness, without education, no human, social, health or economic development is possible.  


Earth Rights International EarthRights International (ERI) is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, which we define as “earth rights.” ERI specialize in fact-finding, legal actions against perpetrators of earth rights abuses, training grassroots and community leaders, and advocacy campaigns. Through these strategies, EarthRights International seeks to end earth rights abuses, to provide real solutions for real people, and to promote and protect human rights and the environment in the communities they engage with. They have a office in Chiang Mai.   Elephant Nature Park Elephant Nature Park is a unique project set in Chiang Mai province, Northern Thailand. Established in the 1990’s their aim is to provide a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants who have been abused or maimed through the tourism industry. The park has provided a sanctuary for dozens of distressed elephants from all over Thailand.   Friends of the Asian Elephant FAE strives to assist elephants and improve their living conditions, helping them adjust and survive within their natural surroundings; aid professionals, such as researchers and vets, related to elephants; and gather and publicise data on elephants.   Global Education Fund Global Education Fund (GEF) is a nonprofit charitable organization working to see that books get into the hands of the most needy children in the world.   International Rivers IR work with an international network of dam-affected people, grassroots organizations, environmentalists, human rights advocates and others who are committed to stopping destructive river projects and promoting better options.   MAP Foundation MAP Foundation is a grassroots Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that seeks to empower migrant communities from Burma living and working in Thailand. MAP works towards a vision of the future where people from Burma have the right to stay securely within their home country as well as the right to migrate safely and where the human rights and freedoms of all migrants are fully respected and observed.   UNICEF Thailand UNICEF works to ensure the rights of all children in Thailand. This means the rights of every child living in this country, irrespective of their nationality, gender, religion or ethnicity to survival, development, protection and participation. These fundamental rights are enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Thailand ratified in 1992. To ensure that they are met, UNICEF works with partners in government, the private sector, NGOs, faith-based groups, youth groups and local communities, as well as with vulnerable children themselves. We operate and fund programmes to protect children from harm and advocate with political leaders for policies and practices that respect the rights of children.   The Human Development Foundation We work to help the children and communities of the many slums of Bangkok. Together with our neighbors in the slums we create simple-but-progressive solutions that touch the lives of thousands of the poor every day. We build and operate schools, improve family health and welfare, protect street children’s rights, combat the AIDS crisis, respond to daily emergencies, and offer shelter to orphans, to street children, and to children and adults with AIDS - always together, hand in hand and heart to heart with the people we serve. [post_title] => Dragons Directory of Global Organizations & NGOs [post_excerpt] => Per request, we're sharing a list of organizations (abroad and at home) with whom Dragons and many of our staff have worked. We have generally found the organizations below responsible and reputable. But things (staff, management, mission) constantly change, so please be sure to do all your own due diligence as you pursue your Gap Year or other abroad adventures! Enjoy! 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