The Start Of It All
Last year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Thika Travel. In a near déjà vu of back when Thika Travel was founded in 1987, I again sat at the notary office. This time to set up the founding deed of the Thika Foundation. Together with the other board members, all of them Thika Travelers, we had crafted the structure of this new organisation.
Since the beginning of Thika Travel we had been supporting a growing number of conservation projects. We purposely did so in the background and only seldomly spoke about this – just wanting to be more deeply involved in wildlife and conservation. To us the areas we supported were more than just a travel destination. Hilde Sanders and I got into this field of work because we wanted to share. Firstly our own unique travel experiences in Zimbabwe, where it all started for Thika. Initially mainly with our friends, soon after also with clients. A distinction that regularly seems to ‘evaporate’.
Besides sharing our experiences we soon also wanted to share our resources, by giving back: money as well as knowledge and skills. We chose to focus on projects near and dear to our hearts: natural places, that touch us and that we advise our clients about, as well as the communities that live there. This – often – fragile nature is their heritage and we believe we should put all our efforts in keeping this intact, or when possible improve, for the generations to come. Since our first work with the Save The Rhino Trust in Zimbabwe in the eighties, our support and personal bond grew. And so did the projects. Amongst that, together with friends we set up a rural football competition for the ‘Under 17’s Cup’, in which we explained the necessity of thoughtful care and co-existence of nature and wildlife to the teenagers, potential leaders in the future, in a subtle, playful way. More initiatives followed, like projects that focused on the rain forest in Latin America and the threat of commercial fishing to albatrosses. In India we sponsored promising young safari guides in their education and skills training.
The main catalyst for the Thika Foundation was the overwhelming support of Thika Travellers, wanting to do more than simply visit remote and attractive destinations. I have enormous respect for this involved way of travelling and dreamt about creating a ‘vehicle’ to support and guide the initiatives that Thika clients want to embrace.
So, that’s the goal of this new and, frankly, amazingly exciting journey we’ve embarked upon. Projects that deal with conservation of the beautiful nature our clients travel to and upliftment of the communities that surround it, often inspired by experiences of these same travellers. We are not planning to be another small drop in the metaphorically huge ocean. The projects we support will need to have tangible results, whilst they have to abide by strict criteria that ensure that they create stable and lasting effects.
Thanks To You
As much as the Thika Foundation is carefully chosen to be a stand-alone charity, it does have close ties with Thika Travel, as it is run by and for Thika’s bespoke clientele. It forms an essential part of our common drive to care about our Planet and its inhabitants: the local communities and its wildlife – often as fragile and endangered as nature itself.
From Thika Travel’s side we add a care around caused emissions. Through careful planning we try to limit these carbon emissions altogether by advising direct flight where possible and by suggesting those accommodations and safari- and other operations, that recognizably contribute to the sustainable involvement. With the right choices and use of the triangle nature, communities and wildlife, we can make a significant difference. Furthermore Thika Travel absorbs the costs of compensation for all CO2 emissions, that result from the entire journeys we tailor for our clients. Flights and land program alike.
Thanks to you, our dear and often multi repeat clients, we can multiply the giving back results, minimize the impact of your travels and optimize benefits for the destinations we support and pass on the often amazingly beautiful and impressive nature and wildlife to their future generations and ours.