As a young entrant in the travel and tourism industries, Make a Difference (MAD) Travel and its network of indigenous communities it services have been greatly affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the sustainable travel platform has launched Feed the Farmers Today and Fund Tomorrow’s Forest, a global crowdfunding project where participants purchase a tree for P150 or $3.
Each purchase pays Aetas of Yangil Zambales and Bataan, two of MAD Travel’s partner communities, to plant the tree on behalf of the participant. Through the crowdfunding project, MAD Travel is able to help the Aetas earn income to provide for their daily needs. This also helps sustain their “agricultural forest” project for the communities, which aims to help secure their long-term food security goals.
“We need to pivot and make sure no one gets left behind,” said Raf Dionisio, the social enterprise’s co-founder. “The most marginalized are even more marginalized in this pandemic and we have to watch out for them.”
As of writing, MAD Travel has been able to turn over their first P100,000 to the Aetas of Yangil Zambales, equivalent to 100 trees planted and 45 families earning income. MAD Travel aims to raise P2 million by the end of the project in September, an amount that will help tide the communities over as tourism continues to be an unviable means of support.
“We are extremely grateful for the outpour of support we have received globally—with backers as far as Sweden—coming together for communities that need us the most in this critical time,” said Tom Graham, another co-founder. “We may be socially distant but we are more together now than ever.”
Those interested to purchase a tree may log on to www.gogetfunding.com/feedfarmerstodayfundtomorrowsforest/ and pay through Paypal, credit card, or bank deposit.