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, and our goal is to connect local youths to their own environments as travelers and 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, see the sites, have fun, and make the kind of travel memories we take for granted. Here’s just one example of Buy a Trip, Give a Trip in action:
42 students from Muramati and Mukima Primary Schools, located in Laikipia County of Kenya, set out on an excursion to join the Leo Project Conservation Club and become environmental ambassadors by learning about measures to preserve our planet and its resources.
On September 14-15, 2022, the students of Laikipia East boarded a yellow school bus and ventured north to El Karama Lodge, located inside El Karama Wildlife Conservancy. Despite knowing a lot about the environment and wildlife, many students had never had firsthand encounters. The excitement was palpable, with giggles and claps from the moment they spotted the first Grevy’s zebra.
“Will you help me? I need your help. You have to be my eyes and ears.” Sophie Grant, owner, operator, and guide at El Karama Lodge, implored the attentive primary school students during The Leo Project’s Conservation Club site visit.
The kind of help Sophie seeks from the newest club members is environmental protection. She and her team passionately spoke about recycling and upcycling methods, the importance of protecting wildlife, and the delicate balance of our ecosystem.
Stacy, 10 years old, asked, “Is it bad to kill elephants?” While the answer may seem obvious to many of us, responses can be complicated for children who have witnessed the destructive behaviors of elephants. Elephants are notorious for destroying crops, critical supplies of sustenance, and livelihoods for many families.
El Karama guides explained that every animal has its job, that animals are designed for survival, and that killing animals and plants can significantly disrupt the environment.
Concluding the session, students were asked, “If you see a spider in your house now, will you kill it?” A collective “no!” was shouted, proving the message had landed.
“My grandmother says elephants are not good animals since they destroy her crops on the farm. I am extremely passionate about wildlife conservation, and every day, I try to convince her otherwise. I am super excited because I got to meet Joseph, the head guide from El Karama, who shares the same passion as myself. Joseph and Sophie explained to us that every animal has a role to play in the ecosystem, and I can’t wait to share this knowledge and facts with my grandmother.” – Michael, 12 years old.
“I was thrilled to see how clean El Karama Lodge is! I’m always urging my schoolmates to keep the school trash-free and recycle as much as possible, and this trip just recharged my energy for advocacy against improper disposal of waste. Looking forward to starting a waste separation project in my school as well.” – Lavinia, 11 years old.
“As an environmentalist, I was equally excited seeing the joy this trip brought to the kids. In the bus, I could hear the kids chatting about the animals they look forward to seeing and what they hope to learn. On asking them why the Conservation Club is so important to them, one of them answered, ‘The future is in our hands.’ Can’t wait to see the amazing things and initiatives these kids will come up with from the lessons they learned on conservation from the trip!” – Wangechi, Programs Director – The Leo Project.
El Karama Lodge is an intimate, owner-operated, award-winning lodge and safari adventure experience located on a private wildlife conservancy in the foothills of Mount Kenya.
The Leo Project:
Started in honor of Caitlin O’Hara, The Leo Project is a 501 c3 organization in Nanyuki, Kenya, dedicated to equitable access to education and healthcare.
Read about other Buy A Trip, Give A Trip experiences.