This is a great new idea that I love and wanted to share! We could definitely learn from this example and add similar programs to our projects! Check them out at Investours.org
Non-profit organization Investours is offering a completely new way to give back while you travel! Founded in 2008, Investours is pioneering a new concept called “microfinance tourism,” and currently running tours in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Investours offers travelers a chance to get off the beaten path and interact with local people while directly contributing to poverty alleviation in the community they visit.
During a tour, travelers meet several local entrepreneurs – people who are seeking loans to start up small business projects like woodcarving, fishing, dressmaking, food stands, make-up sales and piñata making. The tour participants engage with the entrepreneurs about their businesses, their lives and why they need a loan. Over a traditionally prepared meal at the end of the tour, the group decides on one of the entrepreneurs to receive an interest-free loan funded by the group’s tour fees. This loan, along with ongoing financial education provided by Investours’ microfinance partners, helps to improve the lives of local business owners and their families.
This past week, Investours visited several entrepreneurs in the small town of Bucerias outside of Puerto Vallarta and chose restaurant owner Mari Chui to receive the interest-free loan (photo attached). Mari runs a restaurant out of her home in order to supplement her husband’s construction salary and support her children. With the loan, she plans to improve the look of her restaurant by adding a cement floor and painting the outside. Her dream is to one day open a rooftop restaurant so that guests can enjoy her spectacular view of all of Bucerias and the sea.
Tourists have been raving about the Investours experience on blogs, publications, and travel sites. Check out Trip Advisor Dar es Salaam and Trip Advisor Puerto Vallarta pages for some great quotes from tour alumni. For more information about the Investours model and to sign up for a tour, visit www.investours.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.