To fulfill our 2017 CSR commitment to strengthening support for local communities in our destinations, My Odyssey Tours recently partnered with the Hope Project in India and supported a skill training program that enables local youths to work as tour guide.
Founded in 1980, The India Hope Project provides schooling, health care and training programs to people living in the Muslim Basti (slum) of Nizamuddin in Delhi. As an established, non-governmental local organization, it understands the deeper issues in the Basti community and strives to help people there realize their hidden potential and determine their own future - that's why Odyssey chose to work with it.
The Shan-e-Nizam Basti Walk Training Program successfully started on September 10, 2017. Mr. Sudhir Dwivedi, an experienced trainer, was selected to conduct English courses for a few Basti youths so that they can guide the Shan-e-Nizami Basti Walk, a welfare tour program organized by Hope Project. The training was mainly about the basic concepts of tourism, eco-tourism and tour guiding, as well as the history and culture of the Basti community. It also included a few field visits during which trainees can put their knowledge into practice. It finally concluded on October 14, 2017, and we have heard news that, a total of 7 community boys had graduated from the training and 2 of them already worked as tour guides (others are pursuing senior secondary level examination or undergraduate programmes).
Photo taken on the training course sponsored by My Odyssey Tours.
"The training was a good learning experience for me. I gained confidence through this program. The teacher supported me in overcoming my weaknesses. My weakness was my lack of confidence. I am a confident personality right now. Thanks to the program." This is the feedback from Salman Sheikh, a 20 year-old youth participating in the training program.
Faiz Alam, a 17-years-old boy, gave his comments of the training course as follow: "It was a great experience for me. It also raised my confidence level. Through this program I got an opportunity to learn about my own community and improve my skills. I am very thankful to Hope Project and the donor (My Odyssey Tours) and my beloved Sudhir Sir who taught us many things."
The trainer Mr. Sudhir Dwivedi (on the far left) was teaching on a field trip.
What a delightful thing to receive the feedbacks and learn that the good deed has actually benefited the local youths! On the way of practicing responsible travel, Odyssey has done a lot of work, including helping with the construction of pump wells in Cambodia and bringing supplies to schools in Bhutan and Myanmar, but for the first time it has supported a skill training program together with a local organization. It is indeed a constructive step. After all, what better way to help people in poverty than providing them with resources and opportunities so that they can realize their hidden potentials and help themselves?
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." The old proverb also holds true when it comes to "responsible travel". CSR is not all about donations and giving out money, it can be something more constructive.
In the coming years, Odyssey will go further to fulfill its commitment to being a responsible tour operator and in the meantime deliver the best possible travel experience to guests. Stay tuned to hear more about our CSR stories or contact us to customize a responsible trip around your interest.