Kindness Counts: Celebrate World Kindness Day with a Smile
From supporting conservation projects to rebuilding and supporting local communities, here are some inspiring stories of kindness from around the world ahead of World Kindness Day on Friday, November 13th.
Gaya Island Resort - Marine and Wildlife Centres Gaya Island Resort, a five-star property located on the Malaysian island of Borneo within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, plays a proactive role in animal conservation through their Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre and Gaya Island Resort Wildlife Centre programs. Led by the resort’s Resident Marine Biologist, the marine centre advocates turtle rescue, coral reef restoration and conservation through education. Since its launch in 2013, the marine centre has rescued, treated and cared for multiple endangered green turtles, provided a controlled environment for freshly planted corals to recover, and hosted weekly conservation talks to guests to learn and become involved in their programs. At the wildlife centre, the resort’s Resident Naturalist leads their programs to preserve the island’s endangered proboscis monkeys, research and rescue wildlife species and create nature trails around the island. During every stay, guests are invited to visit the centres and take part in one of their signature experiences, including their Mangrove Kayak Tour and Coral Garden Marine Expedition.
From its family owned origins, Singita’s exquisite portfolio of lodges and camps across Africa have grown into a collection of environmentally sensitive properties, driven by a desire to preserve and protect the most vulnerable ecosystems for generations to come. As Singita strives to honor its 100-year purpose – the guiding light for every key decision and every area of operation, their role is to contextualize the numerous conservation and community projects for guests, while bringing together the funds and trusts to support this far-sighted conservation vision.
This complementary relationship between Singita, individual philanthropists, and the funds and trusts highlight the importance of sustainable tourism in conservation and give meaning to their commitment to safeguard the continent’s most vulnerable species and their natural habitats well into the next century. These funds support a variety of community and conservation initiatives, ranging from K9 support rangers in the Sabi Sands to Early Childhood Development initiatives in South Africa. Read more about Singita’s Conservation Efforts in the Sabi Sands here.
Music for Meals — Ellerman House
During the COVID-19 pandemic and 6 month closure of Cape Town’s renowned Ellerman House, the hotel used the time to join forces with partners and launch Music for Meals, a philanthropic initiative. Launched in April 2020 by Ellerman House, Fyn Restaurant and Peter Tempelhoff, Music for Meals is a groundbreaking community initiative combatting COVID-19 related hunger in Cape Town. During the height of the pandemic and inspired by World Central Kitchen, the partners turned their kitchens into a lifeline for hungry communities. Now together with UCOOK, South Africa’s most popular meal kit, the initiative continues to distribute hot meals to Cape Town communities in need. Funds raised by the Music for Meals benefits short-term crisis relief from the devastation caused by COVID-19 together with long-term food security initiatives. The goal is to raise 10 million South African Rands in order to protect Cape Town’s communities from further COVID-19 related malnutrition and poverty and to foster long-term, sustainable community programs. Part of the initiative included the Music for Meals Concert, possibly Africa’s biggest online charity concert, live-streamed on October 30, 2020 featuring live performances by world-renowned acts including Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band, Tom Morello, and local acts, including Springbok Nude Girls, Prime Circle, Karen Zoid, Watershed and The Parlotones.
Elephant Rehab Program — Shambala Private Game Reserve
Nestled below the ancient Waterberg mountains lies the almost 10,000 hectares of pristine African bushveld that is Shambala Private Game Reserve, offering safari experiences and intimate close encounters with magnificent African wildlife. Shambala Private Game Reserve is actively involved in wildlife conservation with their main objective being to maintain the most favorable natural conditions for wildlife to thrive. Shambala features an elephant rehabilitation program to help domesticated safari elephants return successfully to the wild. African elephants roam across much of Africa, but these magnificent animals remain under severe threat from poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. The introduction back into wild rehab process involves careful monitoring of the elephants, who have previously been used to considerable human interaction. Doctors and elephant experts are also involved to ensure the success of the program, and research is carried out to document the team’s data and to share with others. Shambala also gives guests the opportunity to experience some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife while working on a team expedition to complete projects that are designed to improve life for all the species on the reserve.
Tschuggen Hotel Group - myclimate "Cause We Care” initiative For the past year, Switzerland-based Tschuggen Hotel Group has partnered with myclimate, a non-profit Swiss organization advising companies on climate protection and sustainable development. The two organizations have worked together to make the hotel group’s five properties CO2 neutral and get their guests involved in conservation through their "Cause We Care" initiative. Through this program, hotel guests can choose compensate for their travels to and from the hotels upon checking in at each property. There are four categories with corresponding amounts to choose from, ranging between $5 and $150 per person, depending on their method of travel and distance from the hotel.
Quasar Expeditions - The Galapagos Scouts Quasar Expeditions offers luxury trips around the Galapagos Islands on their fabulous yachts, the M/V Evolution and M/Y Grace (Princess Grace Kelly’s former yacht). By operating in an ecosystem as sensitive as the Galapagos Islands, Quasar Expeditions is committed to giving back to the community. The Ecuadorian-based company founded and supports the Galapagos Scouts, a group dedicated to the children of the Galapagos, providing the leaders of tomorrow with the resources needed for conservation education. The Galapagos Scouts were established in San Cristobal in 1997 with the vision to make a true contribution for the creation of a better world. This vision, also shared by Quasar Expeditions, has driven the company to support the scouts, providing them with resources for the organization to be able to confront the challenges for their future on the islands and to achieve sustainability.
Fregate Island Private Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island Private is a luxury hideaway as well as a conservation sanctuary. Guests of Fregate Island Private are encouraged to participate in the hands-on conservation experiences such as assisting in turtle hatchlings, cultivating sea coral, and visiting the island’s bird sanctuary. Below find some recent updates from the island’s conservation efforts - Recycling: Fregate Island Private’s quarterly barge arrived this month and their conservation team really had to get their hands dirty. Organizing the trash and recyclables which has accumulated over the past three months is no easy task, and in total 25 sling bags (2 months of waste) worth of recyclables and mixed waste were sorted. - Less food wasted, more joy for tortoises: Over the past couple of months, Fregate Island Private has implemented a new initiative to reduce the food waste on the island. This project consists of collection of all vegetable and fruit waste from the kitchen preparations, which is then fed to the tortoises housed in Fregate’s sanctuary. Over the first four weeks, the tortoises have been fed an astonishing 428lbs of food. Not only does it reduce the food waste on the island, but it also makes the resident tortoises very, very happy. - Hawksbill Turtle Hatchlings: In the 2019/20 season, over 940 Hawksbill turtles visited the shores of Fregate Island Private forming 529 nests that were carefully tended by the amazing staff at of the Tortoise Sanctuary. Over the course of the mating season, over 8,000 eggs hatched and 3,300 babies were released back into the Indian Ocean. Tswalu Kalahari As well as being an incredible community of flora and fauna, Tswalu Kalahari is also an extended human family of people from the Kalahari and beyond. Through the Tswalu Foundation, Tswalu is commited to supporting the community through a variety of outlets, including the Tswalu School, which provides education for Tswalu staff members’ children and offers structured learning sessions that are intergrated with creative play and opportunities for kids to explore their surroundings. In addition to youth education, Tswalu’s Adult Basic Education and Training programs assist team members with literacy as well as gaining formal recognition for their skills and knowledge. Additionally, Tswalu grows their own fresh produce in their vegetable garden and continues to investigate sustainable approaches to small-scale horticulture. By combining traditional techniques with modern, minimal water irrigation techniques, Tswalu has been able to reduce food supply radius while providing their kitchens with new inspiration. Tswalu also boasts the Tswalu Healthcare Center, which provides vital medical services and healthy education to the local community. The project assists 5000 people per year in the surrounding areas, as well as the Tswalu team members and their families.