These days it has become very popular to combine adventure travelling with local charity work. Whether it is tracking in South America, Yoga holidays in India or a Safari trip to Africa – conscious tourists are keen to make a difference by contributing to local charities as well.
One such example is the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. Originally it was a travel destination for adventurers and history buffs, but these days this unique and challenging trip has become a prime destination for those wanting to embark on an adventure and also contribute to their favourite charities.
The main aim for most community groups attempting the Kokoda Track is to raise funds for designated charities, to raise awareness of particular issues, such as illnesses, or to build team and leadership skills in their communities. Tour groups range from youth groups aiming to develop leadership skills to corporate groups or sports groups wanting to develop team skills and to experience a physical and mental challenge. However, one of the keenest groups travelling to the Kokoda Track are those fundraising for a certain cause or aiming to increase awareness of a particular illness or issues.
Now, you might be wondering how these fundraising tracks work? Here are some examples: Typically the idea is that participants fundraise in their own community and amongst family and friends. They ask for financial contributions in exchange for experiencing a daring adventure. Generally the participant will cover the cost of their own flights and tracks and all monies raised from the community go to the designated charity. Charities and fundraising organisations both locally and overseas have been the benefactors of such initiatives. Many of the tour operators along the Kokoda Track offer special discounts for groups who choose to embark on a fundraising trip. Some fundraising trips are repeated annually but the participants typically only come along once, meaning the following year there will be a new group. As an example there was a women-only group who raised financial support and awareness for cancer and in particular breast cancer. In addition to collecting donations among family, friends and their community, they also distributed educational material to the women in villages along the track.
While it is possible to walk the Kokoda Track without an official tour operator or guide, it is advised that both individual travellers and fundraising groups find a well trusted tour operator to ensure the safety of the group in the remote area. In addition, any treks should also be cleared with the Kokoda Trekking Authority, the PNG agency that oversees actvity along the track.
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