2013 Global Community Service Report
Community service at Rustic Pathways is ingrained in everything that we do. This report is designed to share with you our commitment and approach to service and highlight some of the impacts we’ve had across our communities, students, and staff over the past year.
Rustic Pathways ™ GLOBAL COMMUNIT Y SERVICE REPORT 2 013 Our Mission To enrich the lives of our students and our staff, benefit the parts of the world we serve, and build cultural bridges that lead to greater global understanding and cooperation. CONTENTS Letter from the Director 5 Community Service at Rustic Pathways 6 Global Service Initiatives 8 Education 10 Infrastructure 16 Environment 20 Community Health 24 Economic Development 28 Our Commitments 30 Student Engagement 34 4 L E T TER FROM THE DIR EC TOR Community service at Rustic Pathways is ingrained in everything that we do. This report is designed to share with you our commitment and approach to service and highlight some of the impacts weâ€™ve had across our communities, students, and staff over the past year. Our approach is focused on creating long-term partnerships with the communities in which we work and improving the livelihoods of the people in those communities. We focus on building our operations responsibly, not just in how we travel but also in how we design and support our local initiatives. We also encourage our students to take their experience home with them and think about how they can have positive impacts that go beyond their trips with us. In 2013, we improved our service reporting and evaluation system to become more data-driven and accountable. This system allows us to better track project achievements and outcomes. It also helps us evaluate the impact weâ€™re having on the communities where we work. We also improved our formal training for our full-time managers and program leaders. With new resources and more managerial support, our program leaders were able to ensure more successful projects. We are excited to continue this progress in the coming year. In 2014, we will launch a new service learning curriculum to further support student learning on our programs. We will continue to deepen our staff development program and we will work with our recently established Environmental Impact Team to identify areas where we can improve from an environmental perspective. We also look forward to exciting developments at the Rustic Pathways Foundation, which further amplifies our initiatives around the world. As we continuously work to improve and build on our past successes it is important to stop and acknowledge the achievements that we have made. Thank you to everyone who is a part of the Rustic Pathways community. You have made the inspiring stories on the next pages a reality. Sincerely, Ann Fuller Director of Global Community Service firstname.lastname@example.org 5 C O M M U N I T Y S E R V I C E AT R U S T I C PAT H W AY S Rustic Pathwaysâ€™ community service recognizes the dual goals of community impact and student learning. We design projects with community partners to address locally identified needs and think carefully about the contributions our students can make to achieve project goals. We then build programs around these initiatives that enable students to make meaningful connections and to reflect on their experiences to support effective service-learning. Identify and Design Projects with Local Partners We spend time with our local partners on the ground to understand their needs and priorities. We build on this knowledge and that of our in-country staff to ensure projects are designed collaboratively, address real needs, and build on community strengths. Provide Students Opportunities to Engage We design programs for students that enable them to make meaningful contributions to our projects and develop an understanding of their role in the global community. Students select programs based on their interests and skill sets. We maximize their experience and help them learn through service. Work Together to Achieve Goals Our students join the efforts of our local partners during their programs and work together with local communities to achieve project goals. Both students and communities utilize the unique skills they bring and learn from and about each other. Through the year, our staff and local partners continue to push projects forward and monitor and evaluate their effectiveness. Build Long-Term Community Partnerships Our service initiatives combine with other benefits of responsible tourism to boost local economies and support sustainable community development in areas where we have long-term partnerships. We train staff to take on leadership roles, support local businesses, and enter into joint ventures that provide shared benefits. The Rustic Pathways Foundation further amplifies our impact with additional funding for community projects and educational support. 6 C O M M U N I T Y S E R V I C E AT R U S T I C PAT H W AY S Community Partnerships Our long-term community partnerships address a range of community needs including social equality, economic growth, and environmental sustain足ability. By forming these relationships with the communities in which we work, our student projects and larger company operations are able to work together to provide comprehensive and consistent support. More than 30 long-term community partnerships Education Partnerships We work with public schools to strengthen educational opportunities through facility construction and improvement, youth enrichment programs, and financial support for select students. We also support youth and adult education and enrichment programs outside of the classroom ranging from language and literacy to arts and sports. 84 school partnerships in 11 countries Organization Partnerships We undertake a variety of projects with local organizations. Many of these initiatives focus on the environment and the provision of social services with partners ranging from international organizations like Habitat for Humanity to local organizations like Obra Social Salesiana, a non-profit in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic and Wildlife SOS in India. 54 organizational partnerships in 14 countries 7 L O C A L S E R V I C E , G L O B A L I M PA C T Service by the Numbers Over 195 Service Projects Worldwide in 2013 North America 3 Youth Enrichment and Education Projects 1 Community Infrastructure Project 3 Environmental and Animal Welfare Initiatives 2 Health and Social Service Initiatives Cental & South America 27 Youth Enrichment and Education Projects 15 Community Infrastructure Projects 15 Environmental and Animal Welfare Initiatives 2 Health and Social Service Initiatives 1 Economic Development Project 8 L O C A L S E R V I C E , G L O B A L I M PA C T Asia 43 Youth Enrichment and Education Projects 13 Community Infrastructure Projects 7 Environmental and Animal Welfare Initiatives 21 Health and Social Service Initiatives South Pacific 20 Youth Enrichment and Education Projects 3 Community Infrastructure Projects 6 Environmental and Animal Welfare Initiatives 3 Health and Social Service Initiatives 2 Economic Development Projects 40% Asia 5% Africa 10% South Pacific Africa 10% 7 Youth Enrichment and Education Projects 1 Economic Development Project 35% 145,000+ Service Hours Completed in 2013 North America Central & South America 9 E D U C AT I O N Partnerships with 84 schools in 11 countries We partner with schools around the world to develop facilities and create better educational environments. We also undertake a range of education, cultural exchange, and enrichment initiatives focused on English, literacy, computers, arts, and sports. 10 E D U C AT I O N P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S The Beacon Community School Project Upper East Region, Ghana Rustic Pathways has partnered with the Zorbisi Development Center (ZODECO) to build an elementary school for children from Zorbisi. Without this school, young children walked more than an hour each way to the nearest school, crossing a major road along the way and making access to early childhood education difficult. Construction began in June 2012 and this year, Rustic Pathways students completed a four-classroom school facility catering to nursery, pre-k, and kindergarten students. We anticipate further development of the school in years to come. 43 nursery, pre-k, and kindergarten students now attend the new Beacon Community School in Ghana The Mongola Juu Primary School Project Karatu Region, Tanzania In 2009, we partnered with the Mongola Juu Primary School to reconstruct school facilities damaged by an earthquake. Rustic Pathways Students and community members rebuilt 3 classrooms, a library, and teachersâ€™ office. However, the student to teacher ratio exceeded 80 to 1 and it was clear more teachers were needed. This year, we constructed two duplex housing units for teachers. As a result, the government has assigned 2 new teachers to Mongola Juuâ€”the first two female teachers to work at the school. 2 new teachers now assigned to Mongola Juu Primary School 11 E D U C AT I O N P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S The Nasivikoso Village School Project Nausori Highlands, Fiji Rustic Pathways has worked with the indigenous Fijian village of Nasivikoso in the mountainous interior of Fijiâ€™s main island for more than 20 years. We employ eight staff from the community and an additional three from neighboring villages, and have supported several youth from the village to continue their education in high school and beyond. Our first project with this community in the 1990s was to build a kindergarten, replacing the previous facility that had burned down years before. Now, we are working with the community to build a full elementary school facility for the more than 120 children in the village. The first classrooms of the new Nasivikoso Village School opened their doors in 2012 to 1st to 4th grade students. The villagers of Nasivikoso and students and staff of Rustic Pathways have built the school buildings together and this year completed a new classroom that will house 5th and 6th grade students. The importance of this project and the strong connections that often form between students and the community here have inspired many alumni to stay involved. Many Rustic Pathways alumni support the school development through fundraisers and donations to the Rustic Pathways Foundation. Rustic Pathways continues to work closely with the Village School Committee, providing support as they seek to gain the necessary approvals for the school construction and registration. Fijiâ€™s Ministry of Education provides the teachers for the school as well as its support and guidance. We will continue to develop this school in the years to come, building teachers quarters, additional classrooms, installing solar power, and more as we work to make this a model school for the region. 12 64 students now attend Nasivikoso Village School In 2013: 1 new classroom built 62 meters of cement pathways laid 40 trees and bushes planted E D U C AT I O N P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S Rustic Pathways Children’s Home Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand The Rustic Pathways Children’s Home (RPCH) in Mae Sariang, Thailand was founded in 2008 to support access to secondary education for students of the surrounding Hill Tribe villages. The Rustic Pathways Children’s Home provides room, board, and education for the youth of rural villages who are unable to attend school past the primary grades because it is not provided in their villages and their families do not have the means to send them to school in the town of Mae Sariang. Throughout the year, Rustic Pathways students teach and tutor resident RPCH students on a daily basis through grammar lessons and English games, serving as conversation partners, and through peer-to-peer interactions. S TA F F S P O T L I G H T: Supanee Rommaikajee Program Assistant, RPCH, Thailand 49 students supported since 2008 24 children now reside at RPCH 10 former RPCH residents now attend university or other tertiary schools 16 RP Alums sponsor students at RPCH, covering the cost of meals and education fees for the year Supanee graduated from high school in the spring of 2013. She spent three years living at the Rustic Pathways Children’s Home. Supanee showed great promise as a student and expressed a real interest in working with Rustic Pathways when she completed her studies. This summer, we hired her to work as an assistant with our programs in this region of Thailand, learning how to be a program leader and how to work with communities to implement projects, including the construction of a library in her home village of Mae La. We are thrilled to have Supanee on our team. 13 E D U C AT I O N P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S Bobbing and Floating Baan Chiang Yun, Udon Thani, Thailand For the past decade, Udon Thani has ranked in the top ten provinces in Thailand with the highest number of drowning deaths among children. By engaging young, local students in a two-part swimming and water safety education program, our Bobbing and Floating project aims to reduce and prevent drowning deaths in the region around our Ricefields Base. This year, we held basic swimming and water safety lessons for 480 elementary age students. 60% of these students were entering the water for the first time and the remaining 40% built on basic lessons they received through the program in previous years. 480 elementary school students participated in swimming and water safety lessons Youth Enrichment Projects 61 youth enrichment projects with schools and youth organizations We believe there is incredible potential for learning through cross-cultural exchange. We provide opportunities for our students in our host countries and those participating in our programs to learn through structured and meaningful exchanges that often also incorporate literacy goals, English language tutoring, computer lessons, arts, and sports programs. 14 E D U C AT I O N P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S Leadership Camps La Fortuna, Costa Rica & Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic We began the Rustic Pathways Leadership Camp in La Fortuna, Costa Rica in 2009 in partnership with a number of schools in the community eager to expose their students to activities that enable cross-cultural exchange, develop English language skills and build teamwork and leadership skills. Since 2009, over 800 Costa Rican students have attended our summer leadership camps. The camp runs for 7 days, with approximately 25 students per session. Rustic Pathways students, under the guidance of our Program Leaders, design and implement a full day camp. Each day of camp includes time for arts and crafts, a formal English lesson, and indoor and outdoor games focused on teamwork, trust, confidence, and leadership development. Building off of the success of the program, we designed an Advanced Leadership Camp in Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic. This area of the Dominican Republic is highly impoverished, with many families coming from marginalized Haitian communities called bateyes. Here, Rustic Pathways works with a local organization of community members in Juan Dolio. Similar to our program in Costa Rica, Rustic Pathways students plan and run a full day camp of team building activities and English lessons for a group of 30 children. One teacher from Costa Rica reported this year that she has seen her students who have participated in the camp put more of an importance on developing their English language skills, have stronger relationships with peers, and demonstrate more maturity when they make decisions. Additionally, in the Dominican Republic, students provided a total of 408 meals to students and teachers, which one teacher commented were the most complete meal the students received outside of school. 305 62 local participants in the Costa Rica Leadership Camp in 2013 local participants in the Dominican Republic Leadership Camp in 2013 15 INFR ASTRUCTURE Infrastructure Initiatives in 32 communities in 9 countries Basic infrastructure is essential to healthy, productive, and sustainable communiâ€‘ ties. We partner with communities on infrastructure projects in four main areas: improving water systems and sanitation facilities; building or renovating spaces that support community engagement and recreation; building and repairing homes to enâ€‘ sure they are healthy, safe and secure; and, when possible, supporting development of sustainable energy sources. 16 INFR ASTRUCTURE PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Siquirres Bio-digester Project La Alegria de Siquirres, Limon, Costa Rica This summer, we partnered with students from EARTH University to construct a bio-digester that will provide a lowcost, sustainable source of energy to three households and a small-scale aloe processing plant. The bio-digester uses animal waste from local farms to generate electricity and replaces the propane gas that families typically purchase, saving about $20 every 22 days. This project is part of a larger initiative by EARTH University to support sustainable agriculture and livelihoods in the region. Rebuilding in New Orleans Louisiana, USA More than seven years after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, New Orleans is still struggling to rebuild both its structures and its sense of community. Rustic Pathways supports the work of The St. Bernard Project, which is rebuilding homes in St. Bernard Parish and surrounding areas. This year, Rustic Pathways students worked on 40 different homes being repaired by The St. Bernard Project alongside homeowners, community residents, and other volunteers. We are inspired by their commitment to rebuilding and proud to continue to support their efforts. 17 INFR ASTRUCTURE PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Jarabacoa Aqueduct Project La Vega, Dominican Republic In 2011, we began working in the Dominican Republic and partnered with the local NGO Obra Social Salesiana, an organization that undertakes a range of community development and social service initiatives in the municipality of Jarabacoa. Through this partnership and collaboration with local residents, we have undertaken construction of gravity fed water systems to bring running water to homes and farms in three communities in the region. This year, students mixed cement for the creation of a dam, dug trenches, and laid pipes in the communities of La Pita and La Jagua to provide running water to a total of 50 homes and 22 farms. The water systems provide irrigation for farms that helps to increase agricultural yields and incomes for local families. Obra Social Salesiana works with the communities to ensure proper maintenance of these systems through the establishment of community water committees and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. 433 pipes laid in 2013 through the Jarabacoa Aqueduct Project 18 669 people now have access to running water INFR ASTRUCTURE PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS Bavu Village Sanitation Project Navosa Province, Fiji We first partnered with Bavu Village in 2008 in response to a request to assist with improvements to the Village Dispensary which provides basic medication and health care to the community. Upon completion of the project, the village reached out to us for assistance with achieving their community development priorities to improve health and sanitation. After consultation with the village, we agreed to work together to construct toilets for family homes. This year, we collaborated with NIWA, a team of experts from New Zealand and Fiji, who designed environmentally sustainable filtrations systems that build off of the toilets our students construct. This team will also train our staff carpenters to replicate the design and translate their knowledge to other Fijian communities where we work. Through weekend enrichment programs and a partnership with the village school, Rustic Pathways also supports the development of English language and computer skills for Bavuâ€™s youth. Additionally we employ three staff from the community: our Bavu Project Manager, a housekeeper at our Eco Lodge Base, and a program leader. 11 toilets built since the Bavu Village Sanitation Project began 19 ENVIRONMENT 31 environmental and animal welfare projects in 9 countries The environment plays a critical role in the livelihoods of many communities and must be sustainably managed for current and future generations. We undertake our own reforestation initiatives with local community members in Costa Rica and in Fiji. Adâ€‘ ditionally, we partner with 14 organizations focused on environmental and wildlife conservation and restoration. 20 E N V I R O N M E N TA L P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S Turtle Conservation Project Punta Judas, Costa Rica Sea Turtles face massive threats to their nesting grounds from hunting, pollution, and development around the world. In Costa Rica, Rustic Pathways supports turtle conservation in many locations to help re-establish the turtle population in our worldâ€™s oceans. Our largest area of support is at the Punta Judas National Park, where we work alongside park rangers to support efforts to protect turtle nesting grounds. Students built a small protective hatchery that guards turtle eggs from natural predators and poachers. They also patrolled the beach at night during the height of the laying season to collect newly laid turtle eggs and relocate them to the safety of the hatchery or other secure locations. This work is expected to contribute to 70% of the relocated turtle eggs hatching into baby turtles. 10,000 The approximate number of turtle eggs collected and moved to safe places or to the hatchery in the refugee of Punta Judas in 2013 21 E N V I R O N M E N TA L P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S Panda Conservation Project Bifengxia National Park, Yaâ€™an, Sichuan Province, China The Wolong Panda Club was founded in 1980 as part of a joint partnership between the Chinese Government and UNESCO to preserve land for the endangered Giant Panda. Currently there are only approximately 1,600 pandas living in the wild. The center operates a breeding program to restore the population of Giant Pandas and conducts extensive research on panda behavior. Rustic Pathways has partnered with the Wolong Panda Club to provide resources and support to their work. Our students feed the pandas, clean their enclosures, and assist with other daily care activities. As part of this initiative, we also ask our students to develop a Conservation Awareness Project to educate others about the importance of wildlife conservation. 22 E N V I R O N M E N TA L P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S Many of our programs across the globe work on small-scale environmental or conservation projects. These projects are often as simple as beach cleanups, tree planting, and erosion control, but we feel that every little bit counts when it comes to our planet. Below are a few examples of these projects. Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program Louisiana, USA The Barataria-Terrebonne estuarine complex encompasses 4.2 million acres between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Basins in southeast Louisiana. We work with BTNEP on the restoration of Louisiana wetlands to repair trails, remove invasive species, clean beaches, and plant native grasses. Boondall Wetlands Queensland, Australia This protected area includes approximately 1,500 hectares of tidal flats, mangroves, saltmarshes, melaleuca wetlands, grasslands, and open forest, which are an important feeding ground for migratory birds. We worked with the Boondall Wetland Environmental Center to clean rubbish out of the mangroves that had been swept in by the tides. Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park Nadroga, Fiji Comprising 650 hectares along the southern coast of Viti Levu, the Sigatoka Sand Dunes are an important ecological feature and have valuable archaeological and cultural significance. We work with park rangers to remove rubbish and plant native species for erosion control. Marine Conservation Project Bayahibe, Dominican Republic We work with the organization Fundemar to monitor and restore marine habitats along the Bayahibe coast. This includes building coral structures to support regrowth of reefs and collecting data on seagrass. 23 COMMUNIT Y H E A LT H Health initiatives in 28 communities Health underpins all aspects of daily life. Good health is critical to peopleâ€™s ability to contribute to the wellbeing of their family and community. Our work focuses primarily on health awareness and education. We also underâ€‘ take infrastructure projects that support health outcomes. 24 C O M M U N I T Y H E A LT H P R O J E C T H I G H L I G H T S The Peru Kitchen Project Sacred Valley, Peru Rustic Pathways has worked in partnership with the municipal government of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley for over five years. Our work began with the construction of toilet facilities for families to improve sanitation. We then undertook smallâ€‘scale income generation projects, working with families to establish guinea pig hutches to raise and sell this local delicacy at markets. Through alumni fundraisers and the support of the Rustic Pathways Foundation, we were also able to fund the extension of electricity services to three communities. In 2013, we began a new initiative with the municipality to address health concerns related to poor ventilation in family kitchens. We renovated 29 kitchens in three communities â€” Runqa, Marcuray, and Rumira Sondormayo. We improved ventilation and lighting, installed adobe refrigerators, and put in cooking stoves. These stoves are safer for cooking and can also be used to heat water and keep the home warm. We are now looking at ways to further strengthen and expand this initiative in the future. 29 home kitchens have been renovated through this project Medical Service Ban Chiang Yuen, Udon Thani, Thailand Through our Medical Service Certification and Wilderness First Responder courses in Thailand, our students are able to support local nurses and contribute to public health in the community of Ban Chiang Yuen. In coordination with the local clinic, we organized health screening events for over 1,000 elementary school students. After receiving training, and with oversight from our medically trained staff, students assisted with checking blood pressure, weight, height and vision. We also assisted with health screenings for more than 1,000 elderly residents in the community, which increased the number of residents receiving preventive care. Through our screenings we have found villagers with diabetes and high blood pressure, who were then able to seek care. 25 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Supported 4 economic development projects in 2013 Developing economic opportunities is essential to enabling people to pull themselves out of poverty and meet basic needs. Through our operations around the globe, we provide employment and economic opportunities to communities through responsible tourism practices. We also work to support communities through smallâ€‘scale economic developâ€‘ ment and income generation projects. 26 ECONOMIC DE VELOPMENT PROJEC TS The Beautiful City Project Taza, Taza Province, Morocco The Beautiful City Project is an ongoing initiative led by local organizations in the city of Taza Haut to restore the beauty and cultural heritage of the old medina, one alleyway at a time. The initiative was spurred by members of Tomzit, a Berber organization, who were inspired by activists in cities abroad responding to urban decay through mindful and creative projects that improve aesthetics, sensibilities and overall quality of life for residents. Despite Tazaâ€™s beautiful medina, natural parks and caves, and welcoming people the city struggles to benefit from the tourism that supports many similar areas due to the isolated location of the town. In 2013, students worked with Tomzit, Peace Corps, and a student-run environmental club to restore the principal alleyway in the old medina of Taza Haut. Restoration works included cleaning, cementing, and painting the alley walls and doors with the cityâ€™s signature colors of maroon and white. Students also worked with local artisans to produce flower pots designed in traditional Islamic styles, decorative wrought-iron lighting, and murals of typical Tazan motifs. Throughout the restoration process, youth groups performed street entertainment ranging from karate routines to Arabic poetry recitations. Surveys were conducted to involve residents and incorporate local opinion in design and execution. As a result of this project, the main alley, Zilqa Michouar, was restored. Four traditionally-crafted flower pots were produced, 2 flower beds were planted, 4 murals were painted, 8 wrought-iron lights were installed, and the Resistance Museum facade was restored. Residents of several other alleyways were also inspired to begin restoration work, furthering the efforts of the project to transform the old medina of Taza into a city attractive to tourism and thereby promoting economic development. 27 ECONOMIC DE VELOPMENT PROJEC TS Rich Earth Growing Company Nausori Highlands, Fiji We have worked in the Nausori Highlands region of Fiji for more than 20 years. In 2008, we supported four of our Fijian staff from a clan in the village of Nasivikoso to put their familyâ€™s farmland to more productive use. We started the project by identifying ways the family could strengthen their farming practices and purchasing bulls to plough the fields. We then supported the family in the development of students accommodations, so the family could diversity their income and purchase a truck to help get their crops to market. The farm became formally incorporated as the Rich Earth Growing Company and over the past six years, the family has improved their business management, leadership, and agriculture skills. The farm has also started to generate income for the family. Over the years, Rustic Pathways students have helped to expand the number of crops planted on the farm by working alongside local farmers in the fields tiling land, planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. Student involvement in the project has also encouraged excitement and commitment in the youth who work on the farm. In 2013, RP students worked alongside the members of Rich Earth Growing Company to plant more than 1,000 dalo seedlings, 17 rows cassava, 2,000 green bean seedlings, 200 cabbage plants, and build a new nursery. 28 ECONOMIC DE VELOPMENT PROJEC TS Aventuras Naturales Yorkin, Bri Bri Region, Costa Rica Aventuras Naturales is a community tourism project located in a remote area of the indigenous Bri Bri community in the Talamanca Mountain Range of Costa Rica along the Panamania border. This year, our students supported this initiative, run by fourteen local families, both through their stay at their traditional-style accommodation, as well as, through their contribution to projects that will further develop the venture. Students worked to improve trails to enhance visitor experience by cleaning up debris and mending paths. Students also laid tiles for a small scale chocolate production facility that will diversify income sources and improve the sustainability of the initiative. The improvements to the chocolate facility will also help to qualify the center for further support from international funders to begin production of export-quality chocolate. S TA F F S P O T L I G H T: Rajnesh â€˜Rajuâ€™ Ram Logistics Manager, Fiji Raju first began working with Rustic Pathways as a driver during our summer programs and has since become a full time manager who oversees logistics and manages our Eco Lodge farm. In 2013, Raju was elected by his community to serve as the Provincial Councilor and he now represents the needs of much of the Momi Bay region at the provincial government level. He works with community members to determine community development priorities and liaises with government officials. Through this position and the experience he has gained, he has become an important advisor to our community initiatives in the area. With his guidance, we initiated a pilot project with the Ministry of Agriculture to support small-scale livestock projects in the community. Raju serves as the principal manager and liaison with the government for us on this project. 29 OUR COMMITMENTS We are Committed to Providing Responsible Travel Experiences We are committed to responsibly developing our operations around the world. We work to amplify the economic benefits that tourism can provide through specific initiatives to supâ€‘ port community partners. Our impact goes beyond our community service initiatives and includes job creation, capacity building, support to local businesses, and a host of other secondary benefits in the areas where we travel. 30 OUR COMMITMENTS Job Creation Our in country staff are key teachers and leaders for our students and provide us with essential on-the-ground- knowledge. Diversity is one of our greatest strengths and we employ staff in 17 countries and together we speak more than 20 different languages. Approximately 50% of our staff are from the countries where we operate (excluding the USA). We make a concerted effort to employ staff from the communities where we have base houses or with whom we have partnered on service when possible. As we seek to identify potential leaders in these communities where wage employment is often limited, we provide training and educational support to promising candidates to grow them into leaders both within our organization and within their own communities. Wilderness First Responder Training In 2013, we trained 45 Southeast Asian staff and 10 Costa Rican staff in a 10-day Wilderness First Responder certification program. This certification is a requirement for primary program leaders on many of our programs. Wilderness First Responder Training is rarely available outside the developed world, or in languages other than English. The course was tailored for non-native speakers of English and held at our bases in Thailand and Costa Rica. 31 OUR COMMITMENTS Staff Development We emphasize the development of our in-country staff and provide them with opportunities to build skills that open doors both within and outside of Rustic Pathways. Through medical trainings, English lessons, educational support, and travel opportunities, our staff become influential leaders. Stronger, more versatile skill sets also allow them to earn higher wages and enable them to reinvest in their communities. Our staff members often go on to become important leaders in their local communities. S TA F F S P O T L I G H T: Yi Yoeurn Program Leader, Cambodia Yi is from rural Kampong Cham Province in Cambodia. He began working with us in 2009, and during the last five years has become an integral part of our Cambodia team leading programs throughout his home country. With the support of Rustic Pathways, Yi earned a university degree in Business Management from Build Bright University in March 2013. On what he has learned from working with us: â€œWith all the different students and western staff I have had the pleasure to work with, have added happiness and serenity in my life. I feel like my heart was healed with all the love and comfort they gave to me. Constantly making me laugh, teaching me English or whatever language they spoke, to enhance my intelligence and to be a well rounded person. I am truly very fortunate that I was given such an amazing opportunity.â€? Non-Financial Impacts In many of the rural communities where we operate, community members often take advantage of Rustic vehicles to transport goods to markets or borrow mobile phones to stay connected with relatives. These types of non-financial impacts are part of the reason Rustic Pathways has strong, long-standing relationships with communities around the globe. We make a point of helping out where we can and sharing our resources on the ground. 32 S TA F F S P O T L I G H T Making Travel Accessible We believe that travel and service should be a part of every education. We recognize that our programs can pose financial difficulty for some families. As part of our commitment to educating todayâ€™s youth through transformative travel experiences, we award both need and merit based scholarships for our programs. In 2013, we awarded 120 Chairmanâ€™s Grants based on both financial need and merit. We also awarded 25 merit based Global Ambassador Grants to students from 22 countries around the world. The Rustic Pathways Foundation The Rustic Pathways Foundation supplements our community service work by funding projects that would otherwise not be possible. This partnership amplifies the impacts of both our student community service initiatives and our company operations. The Foundation also provides a way for Rustic Pathways alumni to stay involved in the places they visit. It connects students who are interested in fundraising to projects in need of financial support. Finally, the Foundation provides continuing education scholarships for promising students from the communities in which we operate. You can find out more about the Rustic Pathways Foundation at www.rusticpathways.org. 33 STUDENT ENGAGEMENT In 2013, RP Students spent more than 145,000 hours working on community service initiatives in 15 countries. 34 Through our programs, our students build connections with people around the world, gain insight into global challenges, and support innovate solutions. We expect our students to embody our core learning values while traveling, and encourage them to continue to be engaged members of our global community after they return home. STUDENT ENGAGEMENT We design unique programs that allow students to form meaningful personal connections around the world, believing these connections work towards creating a shared humanity across lines of culture, experience, and socioeconomic status. We then engage our students with global issues first-hand, providing the opportunity to experience and examine critical issues and develop an understanding of the complexity of our world. Our students have an incredible capacity for leadership and an outstanding desire to create positive change. What they do after their programs is a constant inspiration to our team, as our alumni remind us of the power of these experiences in shaping the future. Rustic Alumni Our alumni return home from their programs with new insight, new understanding, and a powerful drive to continue their positive contributions to communities around the world. We are proud of our alumni and support them in their endeavors. Being an Rustic Pathways Alum means recognizing that advocacy and action are a year round practice. The Rustic Pathways Alumni Association supports past students that wish to continuing growing as global citizens, both by furthering their exploration of global issues and by supporting their fundraising and awareness raising efforts. Through purposeful events and programming, the Rustic Pathways Alumni Association allows every student to continue embodying the service learning goals that guide each and every Rustic Pathways experience. For more information on how to continue your Rustic Pathways experience please visit www.rusticpathways.com/alumni or email email@example.com. Respect Engage Grow We will learn to conduct ourselves as positive ambassadors of our home coun足 tries, families, and the Rustic Pathways global community. We will be respectful of local cultures and remain aware of how our actions are perceived in those cultures. We will strive to be active global citizens by engaging with our surroundings and understanding the effects of our actions. We will be openminded and eager participants in cross-cultural dialogue, tak足 ing responsible action when needed. We will achieve personal growth through travel by actively challenging our social, physical, and emotional boundaries. As we reflect on our global experiences, we will work to actively integrate and promote these lessons in our everyday lives. 35 STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Sam Reiss RP Alum Hometown: Los Angeles, California 2011 Program: Tribal Issues While traveling with us throughout Southeast Asia, Sam interviewed many young men and women who had been marginalized by their governments and a variety of other societal and cultural factors. Through these conversations he noticed that a strong grasp of the English language opened up many well-paying job opportunities to Southeast Asian youth, that were otherwise unavailable. â€œI started to see the utmost necesity of fostering a young population that has an understanding of and compassion for the other ways of being.â€? Upon his return home, Sam founded X-Change the World, an online educational platform that brings English speaking skills - and other educational opportunities - to youth across the world. X-Change the World now connects Burmese refugees in Northern Thailand, students in Kenya, Laos, and Vietnam, with students from Crossroads School in Santa Monica, Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, and St. Albans Academy in Washington, D.C. Paloma Palmer RP Alum Hometown: San Francisco, California 2013 Program: Village School Service in the Fiji Islands After traveling to the Highlands of Fiji during the summer of 2013 and working with the community to build an additional classroom at the newly established Nasivikoso Village School, Paloma wanted to continue to support the Fijian students she met. She launched an online fundraiser and made t-shirts to sell at her school. Since starting the project, she has raised more than $2,500 which will be used to purchase desks and chairs for the new classroom. Paloma also plans to return to Nasivikoso in 2014 to visit friends in the village and continue to support this project. 36 STUDENT ENGAGEMENT Amanda Nocera RP Alum Hometown: Sewickley, Pennsylvania 2012 Program: Life in the Bateyes, Dominican Republic Amanda first traveled with us to the Dominican Republic on a grant she earned as a McAdams Global Fellowship scholar. It was the first time she had been on a plane or traveled to an unfamiliar country. Learning about the desperate situation of Haitian workers in the batey communities across the Dominican Republic inspired Amanda to start a club at her school called Club Batey. She also launched Project Batey: Giving Dominicans a Future as part of her senior project. With these two initiatives Amanda hoped to raise awareness about the batey communities and enable these marginalized workers to obtain birth certificates, documentation they need in order to access education and more equal living standards in the Dominican Republic. Without documentation, the children cannot attend secondary school. With the Haitian birth certificates they can go to secondary school and university. They can also then apply for a passport, which they need to eventually apply for Dominican residency. Amanda and her club raised enough money for 60 people to receive documentation. She also and received another scholarship to return to the bateyes for three weeks to conduct her senior project in 2013. 37 38 C O N TA C T U S For more information about Rustic Pathways programs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.321.4353. If youâ€™d like to contact Ann Fuller, our Director of Global Community Service, you can email her at email@example.com or call 800.321.4353. 39