Everyone deserves the chance to travel. Yet, all too often, seeing the world is a privilege reserved for the global elite. At Elevate Destinations, we bridge the divide. Our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments, as travelers and as stewards.
Through our innovative Buy a Trip, Give a Trip model, your trip purchase creates fun new travel opportunities for local kids. For the first time, they experience nearby natural and cultural wonders. They see the sites, have fun, and make the kind of travel memories that we take for granted. Here’s just one example of Buy a Trip, Give a Trip in action:
36 girls from Girls Determined programs traveled to Yangon from across Myanmar, coming from as far north as Kachin state and from the east in Mon State.
This colorful group of adolescent girls from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds came together for Girls’ Peacebuilding Summer Camp for a full week of activities.
During the week of living, learning and playing together, girls explored issues around stereotypes, assumptions, sources of information and influence, local conflict and pathways towards resolution. Girls found that there is a place for them to take the lead on such issues in their communities.
In order to inspire girls, the camp led them on an excursion day which started by breaking into small groups to go to visit with inspiring women leaders form different sectors. After the morning sessions with women leaders, girls shared a lunch in the park, a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda and a long afternoon of playing on the grass in the newly renovated and open-to-the-public park across from the Yangon Parliament.
- Traveling from home in very remote areas of the country to the bustling city of Yangon
- Meeting other girls with different traditions and backgrounds from themselves
- Speaking openly about sensitive political and cultural topics
- Hearing from inspiring women in leadership positions
- Visiting the astounding gold-leafed Swhedagon Pagoda and playing in the nearby park
Quotes from the Road:
“It was really an honor to go to the pagoda with my new Buddhist friends. I came all the way from the north in Kachin state. I had previously heard that we were always being repressed and that the war in our area was because of Burmese Buddhists. I understand that those that created the war are not all the Buddhist and not all the Burmese. My new friends from other parts of the country didn’t know much about what is happening in our Kachin land. I never expect to visited Yangon and I never expected to go to a Buddhist temple. But, because of the trust and discussion during our week at our Colorful Girls camp, I enjoyed visiting the pagoda and hearing form my new friends about their religious practices. Of course, it was also great to play in the park. We don’t have any grassy parks like that where I live, so we jumped and played ball. What a day!”
~ One of the participants, age 14, from Kachin
Partner Organization: Girl Determined
Myanmar is a microcosm of the world’s most pressing issues facing girls and women. Crises of environment, urban stress, religious strife, and gender-based discrimination have inspired radical responses in how to empower girls who must contend with the obstacles to leading fulfilling lives. Just coming out of 50 years of military repression, Myanmar, a country of roughly 55 million, is at a critical juncture for affecting change.
Girl Determined brings together adolescent girls from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds to grow their access to education, health knowledge, participation in decision-making and personal development. Since 2010, Girl Determined has been working directly with girls aged 12-17 across Myanmar’s most remote regions as well as its populated urban centers.
As a plan of action, Girl Determined conducts an annual Girls’ Leadership Summer Camp (Colorful Girls), an annual Girls’ Conference, girls athletics programs and girl-led campaigns that give adolescent young women a chance to advocate for change on issues that directly affect them.