Updated: May 26
Has it ever occurred to you that YOUR holiday could positively transform the life of someone you’ve never met? It sounds too surreal to be true, however, one enterprising Hobart businesswoman has achieved just that.
As well as being a full-service travel agency who pride themselves on providing cheaper-than-internet prices on both local and overseas travel, Travel With A Cause is a registered Nonprofit Travel Agency, which means that every time someone books, for instance, a passage on the Spirit of Tasmania with them, or a cruise, a Volunteer Holiday, or even a trip to the Gold Coast, a percentage of the money spent is used to purchase LifeStraws, a simple device that enables contaminated water to be drunk safely. It is estimated that two million people across the world each year die from typhoid and cholera (from drinking contaminated water), and another million die from malaria. Some 300 LifeStraws were distributed in 2016 alone, along with 500 mosquito nets. This represents countless numbers of lives changed.
Founding director Jane Johnston has been in the travel industry since her time with Ansett in 1981, and was on a travel agent’s tour of Fiji in 2006 when she had what she describes as an epiphany that led to the birth of this new type of nonprofit travel agency. “I was on a beach on a little island, watching all these little dinghies go across to the beach opposite. Our guide explained that they were taking the local children to school.” The school had been destroyed in a cyclone; the children were having lessons outside, and the local government had provided a total of one bag of cement to assist with the rebuild. “I knew then that I wanted to do what I could to help,” says Jane. “I came home and shared the story with my church, who helped buy a whole bunch of books for the children.” Through what could only be described as a series of miracles, Jane was able to deliver the books, and later go back and see the school fully rebuilt.
Since that time Travel With A Cause has saved a reef and rainforest in Fiji, sent computers and a donation of linen to Zambia, and helped organise a church in North Hobart to send a donation of Bibles and songbooks to a Villages of Life project in Burundi, all through co-ordinating people who want to give with people who are travelling.
Next time you’re thinking of taking a holiday, or even just want to find out more about how you can help, check out www.twac.com.au.