TGL Uganda 2017

The GIving Lens Thailand dives into empowering women that may be at risk for the sex trafficking trade, educates on the elephant conservation and rescue, and explores much of the diverse culture of northern Thailand

Uganda is a brilliant, beautiful place landlocked in East Africa. It's bordered by DR Congo, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. It has Africa's highest mountain range and borders on Africa's largest lake. It's home to the protected Mountain Gorillas, and is the source of the Nile River. And we're going to try to take in as much of it as we can over 10 jam-packed days!

This is our first ALUMNI-ONLY trip! If you are an alumni, you need to email Kate or post to the TGL Alumni Facebook page immediately as we expect this trip to sell out.

Our NGO partner in Uganda is nothing less than incredible. Beacon of Hope Uganda is a Ugandan based volunteer travel, humanitarian service, and rural development organization founded in 2006 by then a 19 year old Isaac Ssamba. 19!

Beacon of Hope Uganda designs and conducts programs which contribute to the welfare and social productivity of disadvantaged individuals and communities with an emphasis on children and youth. BoHU addresses some of the most pervasive problems in rural Uganda, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, hunger, education, poverty, access to clean drinking water, and orphaned children. In addition, it focuses on empowering the youth of Uganda empowering them with different skills and leadership training. BoHU has a small media program they have been running with their youth outside Kampala. This is where we will be volunteering - documenting but also teaching photography as a skill (tourism) and outlet (creativity). There will be 3 days of projects planned.

Then we will have a half day safari followed by the Bucket List dream of hiking to find the Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi National Park.

Buckle up!

Trip Dates

Sept 3-13 2017

Cost

$4400 USD

Group Size

8-10

Difficulty

Moderate

This trip is physically easy to moderate. In Thailand in general, there is lots of walking and temples can be steep. The heat can be cumbersome but we try to take afternoons easy, and offer lots of chances for shade and hydration. There will be several hikes to reach viewpoints, but they are fairly novice hikes. Otherwise, this is a fairly approachable trip for those concerned about physical requirements.
The emotional demands of this trip are moderate to difficult. We will become closely connected to these girls and struggle to deal with the harsh facts of their stories, whether they're at-risk or a survivor of trafficking. You will not know which is which for their personal privacy. You will come to love their exuberant personalities and potentially recoil at the thought of these girls - or girls just like them - being trafficked. For this reason the emotional difficulty of this trip has the potential to be high, even though the days will be full of laughter, silliness, selfies, and joy. To struggle means to be pushed to action, so it is a very good thing, but could be overwhelming for novice travelers or those who haven't dealt with poverty (or thought much about such severe issues before.)    
The standards of accommodation, quality of meals, and access to amenities of this trip are decent. Accommodation is clean, comfortable, and safe. You can expect a simple room or bungalow with two twin beds, an ensuite bathroom usually, and clean sheets, towels, and blankets. Some nights may have dorm-style accommodation, when associated with the NGO (housing they offer to their volunteers). Hot water can be hit and miss if we're all trying to shower at once but otherwise is not an issue. Meals will have lots of rice, beans, and meat stews. Water, affordable basic beer, and coffee are accessable. Sometimes the coffee will be amazing because Uganda has excellent beans. Sometimes, it will be instant because Uganda exports most of their beans.
Level of safety in Chiang Mai is very good to excellent. The most common issue for tourist is pickpocketing, but statistics are en par with almost anywhere well touristed in the world. TGL will offer tips and advice for your belongings and cash in team newsletters. If arriving early or staying late in Thailand, Chiang Mai is a very safe city to be alone in, and is well touristed with ample amenities. It's easy to research common scams, but the outcome is mere money loss and not issues to personal safety.
The GIving Lens Thailand dives into empowering women that may be at risk for the sex trafficking trade, educates on the elephant conservation and rescue, and explores much of the diverse culture of northern Thailand

What is Included?

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    All Ground Transportation

    From the moment you arrive to when you depart, we have you covered. Taxis, buses, tours, you name it.

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    All Accommodation and Meals

    Rooms are double rooms with twin beds, paired by gender, and accommodation is always clean, comfortable, and safe. From dinner the arrival day, to breakfast the departure day, we will keep you well fed and hydrated.

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    All Entry Fees and Guides

    Entry fees, shooting permits, guides, passes, etc. If the team is going to shoot there, we'll get you in. We'll even be sure to tip any guides on behalf of the whole team.

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    All Photo Instruction

    You'll have 2 leaders available all day long to field as many questions as you can muster, provide one-on-one help, and offer group topics and instruction as required by the scene at hand.

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    A Donation to the NGO

    While there are a lot of factors involved that determine the exact amount - which we're happy to be completely transparent about - you can rest assured we make a substantial donation to our NGO partner post-trip.

What is Not Included?

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    Flights

    We're open to people from every corner of the world. This means we cannot possibly offer a flight that would suit everyone. If you can get yourself here, we'll take care of the rest!

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    Insurance

    We require every participant to have adequate travel insurance, and to carry copies of this insurance at all times.

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    Passport and Visa

    Each participant is required to ensure their passport is valid for the time of travel, and to research, learn, and meet all the requirements of an entry visa specific to their country. If there are fees associated with the entry visa, they're not included.

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    Alcohol and Souvenirs

    We do not provide alcohol for our participants, so that's up to you. As well, as much as we really really like you, we can't buy your gifts for you. Souvenirs are on you!

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    Internet

    Some hotels have wifi, others do not, or sometimes it simply doesn't work. When wifi is available for purchase, it's up to you if it's worthwhile. Some participant opt to purchase a local SIM card and data plan - a great option that we don't cover.

 

The NGO: Beacon of Hope Uganda

Beacon of Hope Uganda is a Ugandan based volunteer travel, humanitarian service and rural development organization founded in 2006 by then a 19year old Isaac Ssamba. The administration is comprised of local volunteers in Uganda and international volunteers around the world.

Beacon of Hope Uganda designs and conducts programs which contribute to the welfare and social productivity of disadvantaged individuals and communities with an emphasis on children and youth. BoHU addresses some of the most pervasive problems in rural Uganda, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, hunger, education, poverty, access to clean drinking water, and orphaned children. In addition, it focuses on empowering the youth of Uganda empowering them with different skills and leadership training.

BoHU is founded on the principles that our shared values and commonalities as human beings are more important than our individual differences. We therefore operate on a non-political, non-denominational, and non-sectarian basis, welcoming all world citizens to contribute to our work and every Ugandan in need.

BoHU reaches out to the furthest and most abandoned communities in the rural areas of Uganda including its islands. Amongst these are the Buvuma islands which are hard to reach and under – served by other Ugandan NGOs. Through educating Ugandans on diseases awareness & prevention, and fostering the creation of self sustaining projects run by the local community, BoHU aims to achieve its mission.

Our projects are: Bright Future Project (An education program); BoHU Environment (A Conservation program aiming to teach kids on sustainability, alternate energy, and respect for the Earth); BoHU Friends of Orphans (equipping orphans in rural villages with education, health care, and hope. These children are at risk of malnutrition, vaccine-preventable diseases, and live in abject poverty); BoHU Games and Sports (a youth empowerment program); BoHU Health Care (for rural areas, mobile dental and medical clinics, health ed workshops, HIV awareness and more); and WASH (A water, sanitation, and hygiene program).

The GIving Lens Thailand dives into empowering women that may be at risk for the sex trafficking through our work with Daughter's Rising, educates on the elephant conservation and rescue, and explores much of the diverse culture of northern Thailand

Who Are Your Leaders?

Colby is the founder of TGL, a professional photographer, photo educator, author and entrepreneur from Denver, Colorado. Specializing in landscape, travel and humanitarian photography, he has been fortunate to have worked all over the world, in pursuit of capturing the beauty of life on this planet and helping to make a difference in the world for others. In 2010 he co-founded Lespwa Haiti, an organization that provided support services on the ground to small local NGOs doing phenomenal work in that island nation of Haiti. Colby’s passion for photography and teaching helps propel him to hold photography workshops, digital editing classes and webinars throughout the year, in various countries around the globe

Colby Brown Photography

Michael Bonocore is our most senior trip leader, with nearly a dozen TGL trips under his belt. He's the Travel Editor at Resource Travel and specializes in travel, street, and landscape photography. He's also a professional videographer. He's worked with tourism boards, camera companies, and travel websites to make visual content from around the world. Hailing from SFO, he's been on the road more than he's been at home for the last 3 years. Michael is an extraordinary teacher and leader - you're in for a treat!

www.bonocorevisualstudios.com

TGL Testimonials

Betsy S.

As a teacher who loves to continue to learn, TGL is the perfect balance of challenge, self-growth and experiential learning, all with purpose. I’d love to make this an annual goal, and perhaps grow into a TGL leader. My language skills and photography need work and I’m more inspired than ever to improve and grow.

Lisa T.

The Giving Lens was exactly what I was looking for and simultaneously nothing that I could prepare for. On paper, it combined all of my passions: a unique travel experience, photography, and a chance to make a difference in a community or with an organization. In reality, there was so much more. Our partner NGO ... Read More

Mitch K

Being part of The Giving Lens trip to Nicaragua to visit and work with the students of Empowerment International about photography was life changing. It is a joyous wonder to able to communicate some photography basics and watch them engage and produce beautiful images from what they have learned. No matter what they want to ... Read More
Mitch K