Exodus has been specialising in offering incredible, life-changing moments to our travellers for over 40 years; now, we’re going to do the same thing for children who need it most.
In 2017, Exodus will send at least 2,017 children from deprived backgrounds on day trips to learn more about their country. For many of them, it will be the first time they’ve left the village or town where they were born.
Each excursion will be the kind of experiences we offer on our adventures – engaging and exciting encounters, cultural or outdoor activities, led by experienced Exodus guides, just like our holidays. They will be designed to give the children the chance to learn and interact with wherever they’re going – it might be a local cultural icon, such as a temple or historic building, an activity like trekking in the mountains they’ve only ever seen from a distance, or as in the case of our first ever day trip, the chance to see local wildlife.
Our first excursion was in January, on the vast Kenyan plains. 18 children from the Nkoilale Government School stood in the morning sun, eagerly awaiting their pickup, jostling nervously onto the mini bus that was to whisk them away to Naboisho conservancy, on the outskirts of the Masai Mara.
Despite being less than half an hour’s drive away from this wildlife haven, most of these children had never seen any of Africa’s emblematic wildlife before. That was about to change.
A safari is a joy for anyone – even more so for these teenagers, who were beside themselves with excitement. Accompanied by three teachers and the head, they were taken out on game drives in the conservancy. What was the best bit? We asked Meretei Gilisho, aged 13, what he thought of the day.
“We saw elephants, leopards, buffalo and lions and I have never seen them before. I had never been to a safari camp before and we tried ice cream for the first time. It was so cold! I’ll never forget the animals and the food.”
What was his favourite part?
“Seeing the family of elephants!” he enthused immediately. “We were so close to them but we didn’t need to be scared as they were happy eating and didn’t mind us. They were so big, even the baby ones were bigger than us. We learnt that elephants can swim too!”
Responsible Tourism Manager Megan Devenish was in Kenya at the time, liaising with our operator, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to see the first Adventure2017 trip for herself.
“Having spent a few days on game drives in various conservancies bordering the Masai Mara, I was already convinced of the importance of tourism to the long-term survival of the incredible array of species in Kenya. The challenges that the conservation effort faces are evident and the role of the local community in preserving this biodiversity is imperative. We arranged to take a group of 18 school children out on a safari and for most this was the first time they had seen the rich offering of nature just on their doorstep. The excitement upon coming across our first group of elephants was palpable and the scuffle for the binoculars to view a leopard and cub was warranted.”
“Our expert guides answered the barrage of questions and each pupil left with a full book of notes. I was privileged to be part of the day, as we exited the park accompanied by Swahili classroom songs I was delighted that Exodus could provide such an experience, one that will hopefully sow some seeds for change in the future…”
This excursion was part of Adventure2017, Exodus’ commitment to give exciting day trips to at least 2,017 children from all over the world in 2017. To find out more about the initiative, see our responsible travel pages.