Happy Thankful Thursday dreamers!
This week, I am grateful for International Women’s Day and the attention this day brings to women’s empowerment throughout the world.
Now, more than ever, issues facing women are gaining momentum worldwide. With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements spurring activism in the US, #PressForProgress–the call for gender parity championed by International Women’s Day couldn’t come at a better time.
Gender parity is a cause that is wholeheartedly endorsed by Lucille Sive, CEO of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC’s) Africa Division. One of the first women in the travel industry to break the “glass ceiling,”
Sive proudly promotes gender parity in our home country, South Africa, by supporting sustainable economic growth for disadvantaged women.
Sive has spearheaded many sustainable and responsible travel initiatives in Africa, and these are what she is most proud of and holds closest to her heart. Uthando, a unique non-profit organization which raises funds for life-changing community development programs in Cape Town, was personally selected by Sive to partner with African Travel, Inc., a TTC brand that she oversees. Sive and African Travel are deeply involved with Uthando projects that help women in the Khayelitsha township gain skills and earn income.
The eKhaya eKasi “Home in the Hood” Art and Education Centre is the setting for two of these projects. A vibrant community resource, eKhaya eKasi offers after-school programs in literacy and performing arts for children, and assists unemployed adults with job skills and entrepreneurship training. Beading and weaving are among the skills women learn here, and the artisanal gifts they make and sell allow them to support their families while improving the health of their local community.
“The women of Africa are so resilient and resourceful,” says Sive. “I am so proud that we’re able to partner with Uthando on these amazing projects that help foster independence and empowerment in women who are making a difference in their communities. It is truly inspirational.”
Guests on various African Travel itineraries receive beaded rhinos made by the women of eKhaya eKasi as gifts and starting in the summer of 2018 African Travel also plans to give blankets made by these women to local orphanages and underprivileged children.
Buying locally made gifts and products are one of many ways to promote sustainable tourism.
Here, Lucille Sive offers four more tips for those who want to travel sustainably:
1. Stay at hotels or lodges that are environmentally conscious and value sustainability and conservation. For example, African Travel’s Tanzania Honeymoon itinerary includes accommodation at One Nature Nyaruswiga, an eco-camp where luxury living, sustainability, ecology, and conservation coexist in one place.
2. Take trips that support conservation and sustainability. Travelers who book African Travel’s Majestic South Africa itinerary directly help rhino conservation; the company also donates $50 per couple towards the building of a rhino boma at Shamwari Game Reserve.
3. Bring your own water bottle. Discarded plastic water bottles are not only an unsightly scourge on the landscape, they are also harmful to animals and wasteful of resources. Bringing your own refillable water bottle means a new one doesn’t need to be manufactured and decreases the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills or as stray litter.
4. Practice safe social media during safaris. When you’re snapping all those amazing wildlife photos to share on social media, make sure you aren’t putting the animals in danger by alerting poachers to their whereabouts through geotagging your images.
Lucille Sive’s initiatives are a call to women–because we tend to be the caretakers of our world–to care for our planet as well as ourselves while we travel. For example, my hometown of Cape Town is currently in the midst of a water crisis. For three years now we have been languishing through an intense drought. Each day, the local news reminds us that Cape Town is just a few days/weeks/months away from “Day Zero,” the day when the local government shuts off water for many within the city limit. This situation is not unusual in the world.
When traveling to a place outside your home you can help the women who reside in the community by reducing your ecological footprint by restricting water use by re-using towels during your stay, re-use drinking glasses, only shower and don’t take a bath, don’t have maids clean your room until after you’ve left. Waterfootprint.org offers a great personal water footprint calculator where you can check on your water consumption.
Your international sisters will appreciate your efforts.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Sue Faith Levy