Over the years, thousands of youth, families and people from all walks of life have traveled with ME to WE Trips. They’ve been welcomed with open arms by the partner communities that we’ve worked with for decades, who have shared their lives and their hearts. This has allowed travelers to gain an unprecedented understanding of each country and its culture, and of the daily challenges and joys experienced by community members. They've worked alongside them to build classrooms and clean water systems. And along the way, they've expanded how they see the world and become part of a story of transformation.
The safety, security and well-being of travelers, community members and staff is our highest priority. All ME to WE travel is on pause for the foreseeable future, as Canada continues to advise its citizens to avoid non-essential travel, and the U.S. also maintains high-level advisories for most destinations worldwide. We will continue to closely monitor travel advisories and consult with travel and health experts and will post updates as they become available.
ME to WE Trips was established with a deep respect for the communities and people we partner with, and an emphasis on sustainability and giving back. Through deeply connective and immersive experiences in partnership with communities, travelers have gained new perspective and understanding on global, social and environmental issues. They have also contributed to development projects, helping speed completion of projects that continue year-round, led by skilled local workers. These shared experiences on community-led projects have resulted in transformational outcomes for both travelers and community members alike, and have been part of our regenerative philosophy of leaving a place better because of the things we've done together, as true partners.
HOW TRIPS IMPACT COMMUNITIES Each ME to WE Trip takes place in a community where our charity partner, WE Charity, puts its 25-year history of holistic sustainable development to work. The WE Villages model, which has been praised by eminent experts like the Skoll Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and Mission Measurement, consists of five core pillars: education, water, food, health and economic opportunity.
ENSURING THE WELL BEING OF COMMUNITIES
We've worked hard to build policies and best practices to ensure the highest level of protection and well-being for the communities we work with. We are deeply respectful and considered in our approach, and our objective is regenerative: to leave only a positive impact wherever we travel through our partnership with the people we visit.
EQUITY & ACCESSIBILITY A guiding principle of ME to WE Trips is that they must be equally accessible for everyone, regardless of economic background or physical ability. Travelers have had access to a variety of bursaries, scholarships and financial aid options, supported by the generosity of corporate and foundation partners.
A PROUD HISTORY OF SAFE TRAVEL Since 2002, over 40,000 youth and adults have traveled safely with our organization around the world. The well-being of our travelers is our top priority. From on-the-ground transportation, to work safety equipment, to food prepared by chefs at our facilities, ME to WE Trips employs extensive and rigorous safety measures and policies.
Dr. Jane Goodall, an early advisor to our work, once noted that the only way to ensure environmental protection of sensitive areas is to ensure economic systems are in place to benefit the local community. This idea is at the core of the WE Villages development model and is integral to ME to WE Trips.
Through initiatives like the College of Hospitality and Tourism in Kenya, and a similar program growing in Ecuador, we ensure tourism jobs benefit communities, reducing problems like poaching and deforestation. We invest heavily in ecological protection, reducing our carbon footprint by growing organic produce in local gardens and engaging in a tree nursery program to support reforestation programs. In locations where we are the operators of the accommodations, they are built to be conducive to the natural habitat and use natural, local resources in their construction. We support the conservation goals of our host countries, for example by contributing to park fees at wildlife reserves in Kenya, Ecuador and Tanzania. Our travel programs are carefully designed to demonstrate cultural respect, understanding and social inclusivity, with the blessing of local community leaders.
ME to WE Trips meets or exceeds the criteria for sustainable travel set forth by the World Bank for sustainable tourism.
In the Maasai Mara, ME to WE travelers have had the opportunity to connect with Maasai and Kipsigis communities and learn about their lives, history and culture. From learning traditional beading techniques with mamas to sunrise nature walks with Maasai warriors to visiting the local hospital, they have experienced rural Kenya through a truly unforgettable lens.
ECUADOR In the Amazon region and Andes mountains, community members have guided travelers on extraordinary explorations of the country in which they live, sharing their knowledge and experiences. This has included rainforest treks, wildlife walks, visits to local schools, and learning about cacao farming and chocolate from local farmers.
From our base in rural Rajasthan, travelers have had the chance to meet the local communities to learn about India and what makes their country so unique. This has included a member-guided visit to a local marketplace, taking part in a traditional cooking lesson, and gaining an understanding of sustainable agriculture among other experiences.