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The ultimate in cultural exchange

Legend has it that late one night the Tsa'chila shaman prayed to the gods for a remedy to ward off the death-dealing illnesses spread by the Spanish invaders. And the next morning, when the shaman awoke, the sun was shining down on a single achiote bush. The Tsa'chila's covered themselves in the red juices of its seed pods, and slowly, the smallpox started to dispel.

Today, most Ecuadorians consider the shamans of the Tsa'chila the secret holders of the rainforest who have healing powers more powerful than western medicine. But deforestation, land-grabbing and the introduction of a cash-based economy are threatening the livelihood of these tribes and many like them around the world.

Communities are being ripped apart and displaced as the modern world seeps in and rattles their beliefs. The young are rejecting their ancestry and heading to the big cities for the promise of a better life, which sadly is not always the case.

Through many of our programs you will have the opportunity to get involved with projects in tourism, development and farming that allow these communities to maintain their way of life in a sustainable fashion, all the while putting the pride back into their past.

Where are you looking to go?

We have several programs which are very focused on community development. The best ones being Peru and Ecuador which focus on tribal life and heritage, Cambodia is all about building fresh water wells in rural villages and Tanzania concentrates on building better schools as an inspiring education is believed to be the best way out of poverty.

Looking for more inspiration?

Then dive into our blog area for travel advice and ideas. Below you will find blogs related to communities but we have more where they came from, covering all sorts of topics from top travel tips to which is the hottest new destination for the gap year traveller. So sign up now to receive our weekly blog, just pop your details below the pretty pictures! Happy reading.

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