The world’s largest small-group adventure travel company has just announced a partnership with child protection charity Forget Me Not. Intrepid Travel have joined with the group – and donated $90,000 through their foundation The Intrepid Foundation – in an effort to mitigate orphanage tourism.
Of the nearly 17,000 children living in orphanages in Nepal, many are taken from their homes and mistreated, despite having parents who could care for them. Forget Me Not rescue, recover an reunite orphaned children with their families, as well as educate parents and communities about the dangers of child trafficking.
“We believe every child deserves to grow up in a safe and supportive environment,” says James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid Travel and Chair of The Intrepid Foundation. “In partnership with organisations like Forget Me Not and ReThink Orphanages, we are actively lobbying the Government to make Australia the first country in the world to declare visits to overseas orphanages as illegal.”
In alignment with Intrepid’s strong stance on child protection, the company has removed visits to orphanages from all itineraries. “We are urging Australian travellers and the industry to end orphanage visits and volunteering overseas,” Thornton declared. “Travellers often think they are helping, but children are not a tourism attraction. The best way to help is by supporting organisations that work to keep children with their families.” Intrepid actively educate travellers about the effects of visiting child orphanages while overseas.
The Intrepid Foundation’s $90,000 donation to Forget Me Not builds on the not-for-profit organisation’s mission to support healthcare, human rights, sustainable development, environmental conservation, education and wildlife protection in communities. “Together we made it our collective fight to free children and to get them where they belong,” says Anju Pun, Forget Me Not Country Director, Nepal. “Back with families, in their villages and in their mountains.”