This past summer, the G Project invited individuals and organizations to submit beneficial, achievable, and constructive ideas that would make a positive impact on our planet—whether big or small, local or global. People from all over the world voted for their favourite ideas at www.thisisyourplanet.com.
This week, the team from Planeterra travelled to Nepal to break ground in support of the G Project’s winning idea, which after catching the public’s imagination this past September, was awarded $25,000.
For Planeterra Program Manager Adrienne Lee, however, the trip to Nepal was something of a homecoming. Three years ago, long before she began her work for G Adventures’ non-profit foundation, Lee had travelled to the kingdom to volunteer with Shamrakshak Samuha Nepal (SASANE), an organization working to abolish human trafficking in the region.
It was here that she met Shyam, SASANE’s founder and manager director—a man who’d leave an indelible impression on her.
For close to two decades, Shyam had been working as a lawyer with the Supreme Court of Nepal. Well established and well regarded, he was recruited to work as a researcher for an organization whose mission was to support the victims of human trafficking. It was here he witnessed how very large NGOs often fail the very victims they seek to support. It was clear to him—non-victims failed to comprehend the trauma experienced by those who survived it. The pain was, to put it simply, incomprehensible.
His concerns falling on deaf ears, Shyam resigned. It’d been difficult for him to watch the victims’ progress impeded by the failure of bureaucracy and corruption in the justice system. Feeling that there must be a better way forward, he joined forces with some of the survivors, withdrew his life-savings, and founded SASANE.
Shyam’s approach is, for lack of a better word, rather unconventional—even controversial. His family has had a difficult time understanding the fact that he’d choose to leave a well paying career to instead dedicate his life to grassroots, non-profit work. He’s even laughed off having a knife held to his throat from one of the largest perpetrators of human trafficking in Kathmandu. It’s not that he’s careless or reckless—not at all—it’s just that he’s now dedicated to ensuring that people without voices are represented fairly. It’s his singular focus and his life’s work.
With her return to Nepal, Lee’s experience has come full circle. Three years after her visit, she’s excited to see Planeterra join forces with SASANE. Together, they’ll work to provide on-the-job training in the hospitality industry for the survivors of human trafficking, who will be trained to lead city walks and prepare traditional Nepalese fare for travellers. These lunches and city tours will be included in G Adventures itineraries, generating sustainable long-term income to combat the extreme poverty that leads to the practice of selling girls into slavery.
As its partnership with SASANE shows, Planeterra doesn’t simply make funding contributions—it connects projects directly to a supply chain and market. In this way, G Adventures travellers provide a sustainable source of income for these partnerships. Ultimately, travellers bring long-term success to a project—long after Planeterra’s initial investment is spent. The continuous funds generated by inclusion in G Adventures trips will continue to fund and grow female education, job placements, and dignified, long-term jobs.
Planeterra’s newest project is both a promise fulfilled and proof that travel, and travellers, can change the world.
Planeterra Foundation was founded by G Adventures in 2003 as a way to give back through travel. As G Adventures’ non-profit foundation, Planeterra taps into a global network of travellers to help us change the world. Working within G Adventures, we have created an integrated partnership together we work as a social enterprise, investing in the futures of the people and the places we visit.