It is our focus to organize tourism activities together with local people and communities. We believe that tourism should not only be a business to accommodate travelers, but also a tool to create real social-economic development for local people. Over the years we have created all kinds of programs and activities that create value for our guests and for local organizations and communities. At the moment we work together with:
People with disabilities.
With our local partner Dires for Development we have set up different activities where people with a disability are involved. For example, we organize dance workshops with the Jackson Band, a group of dancers with a physical disability. They introduce our guests with the unique Ethiopian music and dance styles. The fact that the dancers have a physical disability does not mean they have any less dancing skills! An other project we facilitate is ‘Dialogue in Silence’; professional Deaf actors introduce our guests with the intriguing world of Sign Language and Deaf Culture. Furthermore our guests are always invited to join the NGO on their day to day activities on schools in and around Addis Ababa. These can be single excursions as part of a touristic travel program, but also extended periods of voluntary work and internships for studentes and professionals.
Ethiopia is famous for its running champions. It is, together with Kenya, the most successful country in the world in long distance running. We organize running tours together with local athletes, they guide our guests and lead training sessions. The tours are often concluded with participation in one of many the running events in Ethiopia. We have especially a close cooperation with the running community of the town of Bekoji in the southern highlands of Ethiopia. Almost all Ethiopian Olympic champions are from this town! Although it is a famous place for runners, it is largely an impoverished town and we try to create opportunities for the community with this project. We employ several runner-guides, and we facilitate participation of talented Ethiopian runners in competitions abroad, mainly Europe. We also organize exchange of knowledge and information with relevant international networks; we invite experts from Europe to come to Ethiopia to give workshops and training to local athletes and coaches on several topics. This is how we try to contribute to the development Ethiopia as a travel destination for runners, and of the Ethiopian running sport as a whole.
Ethiopia is the origin of Coffee. Probably in the 9th century people started to drink it there, many centuries before the rest of the world even heard of it. Coffee originates from the Kaffa region, an afforested region in the west of Ethiopia. the word Coffee derives from this name. We have set up tours that explore the very origins of what is today probably the most popular drink in the world. We visit Coffee farmers in the remote Kaffa region, and in the southern estates of Yirga Alem and Yirga Cheffe, where arguably the best Coffee in the world is from. We offer our guests the opportunity to explore the very origins of Coffee and the contemporary cultural and economic value of it, combined with visiting spectacular natural environments and intriguing local cultures. We create employment for Coffee experts who work with us as Coffee tour guide, and we invest in projects that contribute to the development of the Coffee regions as a tourism destination.
Rastafari is a spiritual movement based on the coronation of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, the former Emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians believe that Haile Selassie is a Divine being and consider Ethiopia as Holy Land. Rastafari originated in Jamaica in the 1930s, and became known in the world through Reggae music, and especially Bob Marley. Over the years many Rastafarians from all over the world have ‘repatriated’ to Ethiopia, most of them live in Shashamane, a town 250 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. We are inspired by the spirituality of the Rastafarians and we love Reggae music, and for that reason we have set up a close cooperation with the Rastafari community in Ethiopia. Together we organize travel programs, we are involved in social development activities, and we organize music events. We have set up an online platform to promote the Rastafari movement in Ethiopia as a source of inspiration to the world (Rastafari.travel), and recently we have imported a big sound system set that is donated by the famous King Shiloh Sound System from Amsterdam that we will use to organize music events.
Not many people know that Ethiopia is the origin of the World Religions. It is the oldest Christian nation in the world; it was the first country that adopted Christianity as state religion. It is also the oldest Muslim nation in the world; when the Prophet Muhammad was expelled from Mecca, he sent his family to Ethiopia where they founded the first Muslim settlement in history. Ethiopia also knows very ancient lines of Judaism, so ancient that they date back to the times of King Solomon. Furthermore in the south of Ethiopia you can still find indigenous tribal faiths like Animism, untouched by Western influences. We are so fascinated by this spiritual history that we have set up close cooperations with different religious organizations and communities throughout the country. Together we organize tours that lead back to the very origins of all these religions and that offer our guests religious and spiritual experiences from an African perspective. The first big tour we organized was the U Day festival program in February 2018, when we hosted more than 60 spiritual leaders from all over the world. We organized a complete tour through Ethiopia, and a music festival that took place in Addis Ababa. Based on this experience we will continue organizing religious inspired tours and activities throughout the country. We work together with representatives of different faiths and denominations, and we will make sure the tours will create value for them just as much as for our guest.
Schools, hospitals, and NGOs
Regularly we host groups from educational institutes from The Netherlands and other European countries. We invite school groups to come to Ethiopia to explore their future profession from an Ethiopian perspective. We visit schools, hospitals, NGOs, sports organizations, etc. The students from Europe get in touch with their peers from Ethiopia, and we organize activities aimed at exchange of knowledge and information. For the students from Europe this experience adds great value to their development as a future professional in their field. For our partners in Ethiopia, these connections lead to important support for their daily activities; the visitors from Europe bring materials and financial donations, and the networks that are established often proof to have effects on the long term. Through social media and other communication platforms people keep in contact with each other, sometimes for years after the travel experience. Not seldom the visitors come back with their friends, family members, etc. These programs have lead to many recurring projects and activities in Ethiopia that have created great value for our local partners.
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