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Through WE Charity and its WE Villages sustainable development model, we’ve worked hand-in-hand with local communities in Kenya, Ecuador, India and other countries for over 20 years to help empower people with the tools to lift themselves out of poverty. Now, those same communities welcome our travelers into their homes and lives. You won’t find tourists or tour buses on our trips—only the open arms and warmth of locals, and the opportunity to connect with them and their families and share in their stories. It’s the world through a very different and very personal lens. We offer two deeply engaging types of trips: volunteer and cultural immersion.
Part of what makes ME to WE Trips different is the powerful positive impact on travelers and the communities they visit. UNESCO promotes the education value of sustainable travel. When you travel with us you gain new perspective, learning from our community partners to gain a greater cultural understanding and a deeper personal understanding of global social and environmental issues. You’ll help speed the completion of community projects, boost the local economy and create skilled job opportunities for local workers. In 2017, 90% of ME to WE proceeds of were donated to support WE Charity’s work in the community. (The balance is reinvested in the social enterprise.) This ensures the long-term sustainability of WE Charity’s work with the community.
Each ME to WE Trip takes place in a community where our charity partner, WE Charity, puts its 20-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.
More than any other kind of travel, ME to WE Trips have a lifelong impact on those who take part. Children and youth return home empowered to create positive change in their communities and around the world, families are brought closer together by the power of shared giving, and businesses become better corporate citizens as their employees are inspired to bring purpose into their workplace.
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 the buses that transport you, to the work safety equipment we provide, to the food you eat produced by our own chefs at our facilities, ME to WE Trips employs extensive and rigorous safety measures and policies.
Global travel is much like charities—some are very effective, some less so. Some global travel experiences in developing countries are well run and leave only a positive impact on the local communities. Others do not.
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.
A guiding principle of ME to WE Trips is that they must be equally accessible for everyone, regardless of economic background or physical ability. That’s why we offer a variety of bursaries, scholarships and financial aid options for youth, supported by the generosity of corporate and foundation partners.
ME to WE trips are a different kind of travel, leaving only a positive impact on travelers and host communities alike. But don’t just take our word for it. Over the years, many independent experts and media have explored our work and our travel programs—and praised them.