Eat My Cake, India
Like the sound of eating cake and supporting victims of domestic violence in the process? Eat My Cake, a little French bakery in the southern Indian town of Pondicherry, allows you to do just that. A cafe created and run by women, Eat My Cake does more than just sell tasty baked goods - it employs and empowers local women from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are single parents, teaching them both baking techniques and essential business skills to help them become financially independent. Our groups visit the cafe, meet the women who work here, and naturally sample all of the tasty treats on offer.
Located in Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan, India, Dhonk is a handicraft centre selling everything from beautiful one-of-a-kind jackets to throws, soft toys and furnishings. Established to provide an alternative form of employment to former tiger poachers and their families, Dhonk trains the men and women who work here in handicraft skills and business management, providing them with a space to sell their products to passing tourists. Contiki groups spend time at the centre, take tea with the women who work here, and learn about the incredible ways in which Dhonk has contributed to rising Bengal Tiger numbers in the region.
Established to provide support for people with mobility related disabilities often caused as a direct result of landmine explosions, the COPE centre is located in Vientiene, Laos. Offering services including rehabilitation and the supply of prosthetic limbs, COPE is a lifeline for those suffering with physical disabilities. Contiki groups passing through Vientiene visit the centre and have the chance to support the work being done by providing donations and buying gifts in the shop, with all proceeds going back to COPE.
An absolute travellers favourite, the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai rescues and rehabilitates elephants from all over Thailand, whilst also educating visitors on ethical animal experiences. Offered as a Free Time Add-On experience on all our trips in Northern Thailand, Contiki groups get the chance to spend half a day at the park, watch the elephants as they play in the river, and learn about the ways in which the park cares for them whilst also providing employment opportunities for those in the local area.
An affiliate of the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Elephant Haven in Sao Yok shares the same mission of the ENP in rescuing and rehabilitating elephants from across Thailand, whilst also educating on ethical animal experiences. All those travelling on our Big Indochina, Asian Adventure and Northern Thai Highlights trips have the chance to visit Elephant Haven, spending half a day here to learn more about the elephants, their feeding and bathing habits, and what the Haven is doing to promote sustainable tourism.
Located in Chengdu, China, the Giant Panda research and breeding centre is focused on protecting and preserving these beautiful animals. Boasting a tourism program that highlights both environmental protection methods and scientific research, the centre raises awareness by educating visitors on all things Giant Pandas. An included activity for Contiki travellers on our China Adventure trip, you’ll get the chance to learn about the ways in which the centre feeds the pandas and their cubs, whilst also being educated on the work the centre is doing to protect pandas in the wild.
The poaching of turtle eggs for resale on the black market is a major problem in Sri Lanka, and has resulted in a mass decline in turtle population numbers in recent years. But the team at the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Centre are working hard to change this, with the aim of protecting sea turtle eggs and in turn, increasing hatching rates. The staff at the centre protect the mother turtles throughout the nesting process, caring for the eggs once laid in their hatchery before re-releasing the 3 day old baby turtles back into the wild. An included experience for all Contiki travellers on our Pure Sri Lanka trip, you’ll get the chance to visit the centre, learn about the work being done and of course, hang out with a whole load of adorable baby turtles.
Offered in partnership with the ME to WE organisation, this sustainable travel experience gives you the opportunity to volunteer on a development project in rural Rajasthan, India. Over the course of 3 days you’ll get the chance to experience daily life in a local community, get your hands dirty helping on the latest development project, enjoy morning yoga classes, and much more. A truly immersive experience for those travellers looking to give back and enjoy a slice of real Indian village life.
Reducing the need for unnecessary plastic bag usage, each of our coaches is equipped with reusable shopping bags which our Trip Managers use when shopping for groceries for home cooked included meals. These reusable tote bags are made from off-cuts sourced from fabric manufacturers in Cambodia, who donate the material to a foundation called M’Lop Tapang (a branch of the Tree Alliance social enterprise). M’Lop Tapan passes the work on to women who are supported by the foundation to create an income by working from home, providing all of their sewing materials and equipment. Contiki makes zero profit on sales of the bags, with all proceeds going back into the foundation.