Communities we help
You want to know you’re making a genuine, sustainable impact. With our trips we promise you will. See what we’ve achieved below.
Rewarding, hands-on community projects are a central focus of every Antipodeans program. When you travel Antips, you can be assured your project is sustainable and safe, provides local employment and is always created in consultation with local communities, many of whom we’ve built trusted relationships with.
Read how we support local in the case studies below or check out our Responsible Travel Code of Conduct.
Quilla Huata/Miski Uno People, Peru
In the Andes Mountains—20 minutes from the centre of Cusco—lives the Quilla Huata/Miski Uno community, a name meaning “house of the moon”. Home to over 90 families (each averaging 7 people), the people are indigenous Qechuan, directly descended from the Inca. In this community most rely on agricultural produce for their income, which becomes a problem during the dry season (May to November) as crops are hard to grow and business becomes unsustainable. During this period malnutrition and illness can strike.
When Antipodeans first started working with the Quilla Huata/Miski Uno community they were struggling with severe malnutrition amongst children. The poor farming conditions meant schools were unable to provide food and families were unable to afford it themselves. These kids would walk to school in the hills outside Cusco, sit through classes all day and walk home, all on an empty stomach. At night they may finally share a small serve of soup amongst the entire family.
We teamed up with a local organisation that provides indigenous Qechuan communities with self-sustainable greenhouses for families to run. Why? One greenhouse allows year-round production of vegetables, even in Peru’s dry season. It provides schools with a nutritious meal to feed children and in turn improves their BMI. On top of this, any excess vegetables from the greenhouse can also be sold at the Cusco markets, another way of increasing a family’s weekly income from $5 up to $60. Greenhouses kickstart an improved (and sustainable) quality of life within communities. Awesome.
Like most things in life, these greenhouses cost money to build. $6,500 in fact. By raising money and assisting with construction, Antipodeans’ teams have the power to increase the number of greenhouses being provided. They have the means to directly impact communities like Quilla Huata/Miski Uno for the better.
Since 2006 we’ve supported the building of over 40 greenhouses in the Cusco area. This has seen the recorded number of malnourished school children drop from 98% to 5%.
“It felt incredibly rewarding and touching to work with the local builders and families. Just being at the school and seeing the smiles on their faces was extremely moving.”
Freya, Student at McKinnon Secondary College (Peru Expedition)
The Mountain People of Seuang River Valley, Laos
Three hours north of Luang Prabang, in the Seuang River Valley, are a number of small mountain villages. Each home to around 200-400 people, life is simple but satisfying with most time spent fishing with nets, rope-weaving or harvesting river weeds.
This relaxing life away from the cities does come with its own difficulties. With little to no access to healthcare resources, infectious diseases and basic musculoskeletal injuries are common—but preventable—in communities like the Seuang River Valley.
This limited access to health care is a problem for Laotian mountain people. Most have to travel 1-2 days to reach the nearest medical facility and as a result rely on traditional remedies, local pharmacists or don’t seek medical attention at all. In cases where the issue is more serious they may travel the long distance to a district hospital or, for those who can afford it, travel to the city for treatment at the provincial hospital.
Since 2009 Antipodeans Nursing and Midwifery students have provided primary health clinics to over 30 villages in Laos’ rural north. This provides remote villagers with annual access to primary health care they would otherwise not seek or get. Our students work alongside local health professionals to run primary health care clinics that include health assessments, antenatal and postnatal checks, newborn assessments and treatment.
Our teams also provide health promotion sessions for adults and children, to address simple yet important health messages about hand-washing and sanitation, women’s health and oral health care.
A big part of the contribution we make to communities like Seuang River Valley is fundraising. This money is used to build classrooms and wells to ensure running water year-round; to provide treatment in hospital for those unable to pay for the treatment; and to fund the cost of maintaining the district ambulance.
Over the last three years we’ve provided access to primary health care for 12,000 community members across 90 villages. To put that in perspective, it means our teams are seeing 100-150 villagers (on average) per day over the duration of their placement—people who would otherwise not have access to this kind of health care. It’s pretty incredible stuff.
“We learnt the correlation between education and health is strongly linked. It’s our dream one day for each and every villager to have access to primary health care. It’s a basic right we take for granted living in such a fortunate country.”
Jourdan Lofthouse, Student at Griffith University (Laos Uni Placement)
Isanborei is a remote community in Kampong Thom Province, on the main road between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. With little to no resources and many villages living below the poverty line, this largely forgotten community once hid archeological treasures from the outside world: the capital city of the pre-Angkorian Chenla Kingdom, dating back to 7th century.
In 2009, a local sustainable tourism organisation learnt about this situation in Isanborei. By promoting the area and providing hospitality and history training for locals, a community-based tourism industry in Isanborei was born. Now locals can offer visitors a unique look into rural Cambodian life through a simple homestay with meals, tours around temple ruins, bicycle rides, cooking classes and activities like rice planting and harvesting. They’re able to share their fascinating history with tourists and earn their own income while they’re at it.
Despite this development of tourism in the area, many Isanborei villagers still suffer from poverty. Some of their housing conditions are very poor and need reconstruction. Inadequate housing conditions mean accommodation isn’t suitable to welcome travellers. For many, even a simple mattress or small basic toilet is more than can be afforded.
To combat the issue of Isanborei’s difficult living conditions, Antipodeans has worked on construction projects in the community for several years. By building new houses or toilet blocks our teams are able to improve the quality of life for locals, aiding them to live above the poverty line.
These improvements help locals join the homestay program and earn a sustainable income with tourism—which is exactly what they want. With most of the newly-built houses elevated above the surrounding lake, our teams are truly giving a hand-up, not a hand-out.
“I loved the project. It felt incredible to help out a family who needed it and it was lovely to see our hard work result in a finished garden and house.”
Lucy Ketel, Student at Tauranga Girls’ College NZ (Vietnam/Cambodia Expedition)