And while sitting on the bus en route to the Taj Mahal, trekking through scenic landscapes in Laos, and enjoying the pristine beaches of Central America, we are often blind to the realities of the world surrounding us. Take a stroll five blocks out from the tourist havens in nearly any place you visit in the developing world, and you will find great need. Schools are lacking basic supplies to give children a healthy environment to learn like pens, pencils and notebooks. Some orphanages lack even the most basic necessities such as rice and shoes. Clinics in small villages on well-worn trekking trails are short of badly needed medical supplies. Mosquito nets are the only thing needed by some children in the world to prevent contracting diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.
We have found that some of the most enriching experiences on our travels have not come from getting that perfect photograph of the Sphinx. Nor from several days straight of perfect waves in Bali. The experiences that truly change us are the connections we make when we are abroad. It is a transformational experience to play a game of soccer with local school children in Latin America or to teach a basic English lesson in Southeast Asia; to deliver badly needed supplies to an orphanage, and to see a child’s face knowing a box of toys may have just arrived. These are the experiences that we seek.
Who amongst us cannot afford to take a day out of our trip to visit a school and drop off soccer balls to children who would otherwise roam the streets? Would it really be so difficult to pack an extra duffel bag and fill it with basic medical supplies like Vitamin A and bandaids? How can any of us, after delivering rice to hungry children in an orphanage, ever go back to trips that take us from the airport straight to our all-inclusive resort then straight back to the airport?
This is what we have challenged ourselves to accomplish. The Daya Project is a resource for travelers to find opportunities in the places they visit to give back to local communities. Here, you will be able to search for places and organizations that need your help. Whether by volunteering your time, delivering badly needed supplies, or simply spending a day with local children, you will hopefully find an opportunity that resonates with you. For those even more adventurous, actively seeking out new opportunities and organizations for The Daya Project is an incredibly rewarding experience.