When you travel with Influence Tours, you can rest assured that 100% of our profit goes straight to our charity partner, Township Roots. Through after school activities and scholarship programmes, Township Roots helps children and teenagers in the townships of Cape Town to attain a better life by conveying the importance of education.
Donated money is used for things such as school material (paint, brushes, paper etc), scholarship awards, university application fees, and computers. You can read more about our contributions to Township Roots in our annual sustainability report (Sustainability Report 2016).
Every year we donate a set amount to Township Roots, an amount that is completely independent from the profits and results of Influence Tours.
We have opted to do this partly to pay them for time spent on the collaboration, but also so that the organization can continue growing, no matter how our business is progressing.
The more trips we sell, the more we can provide financial help, but our annual contributions never go below the agreed amount, and never extend past the agreed limit.
RESPONSIBLE TOURISM POLICY
Influence Tours is committed to Responsible Tourism, both through its work with charity partners and in the selection of suppliers. We strive to always select suppliers that treat their staff with respect, invest in local development projects and are considerate to the environment. We make use of established 3rd party evaluations, such as Fair Trade Tourism, when available. But in the absence of comprehensive and country-wide criteria for Responsible Tourism, we evaluate many supplier during personal visits and against criteria relevant to the context (for instance, we do not define “local” as a set area but rather look at what is relevant for the specific business in terms of local employment and local sourcing). As such, we have no set definition of Responsible Tourism, but rather a loose set of indicators as follows:
- The business employs people from the local community and supports skills development
- The business sources goods and services from the local economy
- All staff have legal contracts and the business provides a working environment free from discrimination
- The business supports one or more local development and/or environmental projects
- The business strives to minimise its negative effect on the environment (through e.g. water and energy saving initiatives, recycling and the use of environmentally friendly products)
There are also certain issues that we consider irresponsible and never engage with. These are:
- Interaction with caged, wild animals such as lion cub petting, elephant back riding and dolphin shows
- Activities that do not respect the local customs, culture or environment
- Discrimination based on race, sex, religion or sexual orientation
When you travel by car, boat, bus or plane your trip contributes to emissions of carbon dioxide, which leads to climate change. You can offset your trip and invest in projects that are working actively to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for example by planting trees.
Trees for Tourism is an example of a South African organization that works with tree planting and carbon offsetting. On their website you can calculate your journeys emission and make your compensation.
Township Roots is a registered non-profit organisation that works with children in the township of Nyanga, which incorporates the Philippi community, outside Cape Town. In these areas there is a high crime rate and children often drop out of school. The lack of sports development and other facilities in the area has affected the youth drastically.
As a result, highly capable and motivated children often join gangs, commit crime, do drugs, and give up on their futures completely.
Township Roots aims to motivate students in after-school activities while also giving them support to reduce early dropout issues and inspire them to continue on to high school and university studies.
For more information about Township Roots visit www.townshiproots.org
Bulelani Futshane, founder of Township Roots
Why did you start Township Roots?
My inspiration in 2010 was to create an organisation that could be owned by the township people – an organisation they can be proud of because they identify with it. This pride would be driven by creating opportunities for the township community and because it is led by people from the township itself.
The township people do not value education and that is our biggest challenge; to change their perception of this. Our goal is to build leaders within the townships by helping young people enjoy school and view life beyond the poverty stricken environment they live in.
How has your initiative been received?
The children appreciate our efforts and the programmes we are bringing to them- they see hope through our engagement. Naturally they want us to spend even more time with them and in future, thanks to Influence Tours, we will be able to.
As for the teachers, they celebrate and support us because they know we came from their system and they saw us struggling like the children we are trying to help. They support us as children who are trying to make a difference in their community, and as children who will never forget where they came from.
What is you vision for the future of Township Roots?
My long-term vision for Township Roots is for it to become an active and well-known organisation across all townships in South Africa. I want our literacy programmes to grow to incorporate adults, as we need adults that can read in order for us to change the future of townships and South Africa.
How will Influence Tours be able to help Township Roots?
The collaboration between Township Roots and Influence Tours makes a huge difference for the people of Nyanga and Philippi.
The donations from Influence Tours gives our organisation a chance to strengthen our programmes in schools where we are currently active and also gives us the possibility to increase the number of schools we work with, thus allowing us to help even more children.
Our children are looking for international exposure to help them see life beyond their poor environment and we believe the partnership with Influence Tours will give them that opportunity.