YOYO FRANCE or how to sort in a civic, collaborative and generous way !

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Pour obtenir l’interview en Français et découvrir la superbe initiative YOYO France, cliquez ici : Yoyo France – Initiative environnementale et collaborative

Can you tell us a little more about the founder of YOYO France, its background and its motives?

As a born entrepreneur, Eric Brac de La Perrière created Yoyo in 2016 which aims to increase the recycling rate in cities, by rewarding sorting practices on a collaborative platform. Through Yoyo, Eric wants to mobilize companies, cities and citizens for a common cause : zero waste. His carrier as the CEO of Eco-Emballages from 2009 to 2015 gave him specific expertise in circular economy and public-private partnership. Eric also held various key positions in media and consultancy groups as CEO of The Link Factory (Havas Group), CEO of Burson-Marsteller (WPP Group) and Chairman of Me US (MC Saatchi Group). As a graduate of L’Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale, Eric served in the French Navy Commandos as a Navy Officer and worked for the Compagnie Générale d’Aéronautique in South America. Today, Eric places his expertise in management and environmental issues at the service of Yoyo, the first collaborative platform which ambition is to revolutionize recyclable waste collection.

YOYO France, what is it? How does it work?

Yoyo stands for the back and forth of the matter : « I consume, I pick up ». It is a new system of source separation, meant to double the recycling rate of plastic waste, which is currently stagnating at 23% in cities. Plastic is the material that we consume the most, but the one that we recycle the least.  Yoyo is a digital platform that rewards citizens who separate recyclables in a better way – with discounts on their cities’ cultural or sports activities for example. The picked-up plastic material is then tracked and directly channelled to the recycling centre.

Yoyo, how does it work?

Thanks to a collaborative website (www.yoyofrance.com), a Sorter and Coach community is trained and mobilized. The Sorters receive the Yoyo emptied and numbered bags, in which they can separate their PET plastic bottles from the source (soda bottles, juices, vinegar…). Once the bags are full, they are sent back to a Coach near their home (a merchant, a retired person, a guard…). The Sorters and Coaches accounts are credited with points, whichthey can trade with rewards (cheaper or free access to shows, matches, cinema, transports, eco-friendly products…). Yoyo works along with the existing measures, as it settled in cities whose recycling system keeps lagging behind.

Where and since when?

Yoyo operates in the 9th district of Lyon, and in the centre of Bordeaux since December 2016. The Start-up aims to expend to Paris and its suburbs and in 10 cities by the end of 2017.

How do you hope your initiative is going to change people’s mentality towards the protection of the environment?

We think that people who recycle their plastic bottles with Yoyo won’t stop there. Someone that sorts plastic will more easily sorts other materials. Someone that sorts in his home will also sort outside his house. Someone that starts to sort will encourage his surroundings to do the same. It is a virtuous circle.

Yoyo puts people  at the centre of the environmental issue that plastic represents. It is necessary to end the consensual discourse and act in a responsible and activist way.

Do you think people are ready to change their habits to protect the environment? Or are people still lacking information and awareness, even in France?

Sorting is the most favorite action of French people after voting. Awareness campaigns are regular and affect 66% of French people (ADEME 2015 figures). However, the sorting and recycling system in France is very complex. The problem is the distrust people feel towards the utility of sorting, and the lack of knowledge on the use of waste once they are in the trash.

This is why the recycling rate of plastic is stagnating.  We need people to start acting now, and that is what Yoyo fights for.

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Do you believe it’s the government’s responsibility to take action to protect the environment? Or do you think it has to come from the bottom of the society?

The government needs to take charge and take action on the fundamental question that is the pollution of plastic.  However, we cannot just rely on those decisions to be taken. The struggle against pollution is urgent : everyone has to take action, within its own means.  Driven by its city inhabitants, Yoyo enables this action.

Thanks to Yoyo, inhabitants who are already sorting but anyone who wishes to do more can. On the other hand, inhabitants that weren’t sorting before Yoyo, can now gain a real recognition for their action : they act, directly or indirectly, for the environment.

Do you consider YOYO team members as activists? What do you think  this word means today?

To launch such a project, you have to be convinced to convince. Yoyo places itself as an actor of the positive ecology, preferring the carrot more than the stick. We are convinced that we need to act in a different way, by placing people at the centre of the issue – for a more sustainable earth.

YOYO France in ten years from now: what will it look like?

Geographic deployment

In ten years from now, Yoyo will be settled in the biggest French cities – and the smallest. Yoyo will also have reached out to emerging Mediterranean countries.

Diversification of the recycled materials

With time, Yoyo aims to diversify: to enable the sorting of new materials, always in a short cycle. We are thinking for example about other recyclables plastics and electronic wastes.

What is YOYO France’s ultimate goal? What are the next steps?

The aim is to increase the recycling rates of all waste. Moreover, we want to raise awareness and to change the mentality towards sorting.

What are our next steps?

  • to expand Yoyo example to all big French cities
  • to experiment with other wastes
  • to export our project to emerging Mediterranean countries.

And of course, keep mobilizing and acting against the plastic pollution…!

To learn more about their project, visit www.yoyofrance.com

Jaime’s Experience, volunteering at ISF Cambodia

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A lot of people are more and more interested in volunteering while they are travelling or even living in a country. At Soulcial Travel, we aim to help those people to find volunteering opportunities abroad by connecting them to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) listed on our website. That’s how we got to know Jaime, a former volunteer at ISF (Indochina Starfish Foundation), one of our partners in Cambodia.

We asked him about his experience for anyone who may be reluctant to volunteer abroad.

“It truly changed my life, and in a way I haven’t regretted for a single second.” (Jaime)

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Don’t hesitate to read the following testimony to discover about his story at ISF and the impacts on everybody’s lives.

If you also had a great volunteering experience, feel free to share it with us by sending an email to info@soulcialtravel.com.

Jaime’s interview:

 Can you tell us a little more about yourself? Age, nationality, Interests?

I am now 41, I’m from the UK, and had worked as a communications manager for NGOs for around 9 years previously in the UK. As I grew older, I found that my need to try to do something positive about injustices in the world grew. I was also a passionate traveler, who had explored Europe very thoroughly and who longed to try something more adventurous – so after saving money I set off on a trip from England to Australia, without flying.

How did you find about ISF and what did you decide to do as a volunteer there?

Before I set off on my trip, I knew an 18 month holiday would leave me feeling a little decadent and guilty, so wanted to find a way to contribute something positive along the way. A friend of mine had told me about the desperate poverty in Cambodia, and how wonderful and warm the Cambodian people were in spite of their hardships. I began to research NGOs I might be able to help. I looked for NGOs who were doing really impressive work and might find some genuine use in my communications skills. I found an advert for a teaching job at ISF and while I didn’t want that position, I wrote and offered them my help as a communications consultant. I was very impressed by their ethos and what I read about the impact of their work. I was delighted when they said yes.

How long did you stay there and what were your missions?

My first stint at ISF was just over two months and my job was to look at all the communications – including social media and the website – and make recommendations on how to improve them so that their profile would be increased and they would be better placed to raise funds. I consulted extensively with all of the local staff in order to fully understand the organization, so its ethos, values and practices were fully reflected by the communications. I later returned for a further two month stint, where I worked on generating positive media coverage.

What were the positive aspects of your volunteer experience? And what about the negative aspects?

The positive aspects were almost overwhelming. I found the young students I met incredibly inspiring. Because of the horrible poverty they came from, and their recognition that education was the only way out, they were all so happy to be in school. They were passionate, intelligent, funny, warm and hard working in a way I’d never seen in such young children before. Just as importantly, the whole of the ISF team – mostly Cambodians, with only 2 or 3 western staff – were brilliant. They were so passionate about the work they did, and serious about improving the lives of the kids – while also being incredibly fun and friendly. Many of them remain very close friends to this day, and they are the primary reason I live in Cambodia. The only negative aspect is that these kid’s home lives are often very hard, on a scale which you probably can’t imagine without having been there. The slums they live in are desperate and drug-ridden, and many of their family lives are highly dysfunctional. The most difficult moment for me was when one of the children’s fathers, an alcoholic, drowned one night. I had grown very fond of that child, who was a constantly smiling little star, and when I saw how heartbroken and fearful he was after that it was very emotionally grueling. But these aspects were always counterbalanced by watching the positive steps forward the kids took every single day.

Would you recommend volunteering with ISF?

A thousand times yes. A wonderful organization, with exceptional values and people. It truly changed my life, and in a way I haven’t regretted for a single second.

Did you experience a cultural shock when arriving in Cambodia?

A little. I had by then seen much of South East Asia, so the chaos and dirt didn’t shock me as much as it might if I had arrived there having never left Europe or America. But seeing the reality of the kid’s homes, in some of the most awful slums in Asia, that would be shocking to anyone.

What is the most striking memory you have from this experience?

I remember arriving at work each morning at the same time as the school bell rang, and making my way to my office through a crowd of yelling and grinning kids who were rushing to class, each of them high fiving me as I passed by. It was the best way to start a work day which I have ever experienced.

Do you have an anecdote to share with us?

As I have already said, I worked in two separate stints for ISF, 6 months apart. There was one boy I really liked the first time round. He just had a very warm and happy personality, but he couldn’t speak English, so our conversations never progressed much beyond saying hello to each other and smiling. When I returned six months later I saw him almost immediately, and he seemed to have grown five inches. When he saw me he remembered me instantly and then said, very formally and politely, “”Hello, Jaime. It is very good to see you. Are you happy today?” I was so stunned that I almost didn’t answer, but when I did we were able to hold a conversation. It was the most beautiful illustration of the education ISF is able to offer, and means that boy will have a bright future where once he faced only the misery of child labour and scavenging through Phnom Penh’s piles of garbage. It made me so proud to be part of this amazing organization.

Thank you Jaime for sharing your experience with us!

Kanya Sesser : “No Legs, No Limits”

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Nothing can stop Kanya Sesser.
The part time model and 26 year old athlete girl is the kind of person that inspires us all. Since her childhood, she has put all her energy into pushing away the barriers imposed by societal social norms.
She has no legs – and no limits either.

Born in Pak Chong, Thailand, without legs, Kanya Sesser was early abandoned by her parents when she was just a baby. Raised by Buddhists, she was then adopted by two Americans at the age of 6 and moved to Portland, United States.

Very soon, she started to experience all kind of sports : from skateboarding to wheelchair racing and basketball, she refused to see her disability as an obstacle in her life. She has competed in 100, 200 and 400 meters wheelchair racing events.

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But Kanya didn’t stop there. She wanted to show that beauty has no limits too, so she became a sportswear model at the age of 15. She has modelled for big sports brands such as Nike, Billabong and Panty Prop. The media coverage that resulted from her modelling campaigns has changed the way people look at beauty and the advertising model world as a whole.

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Today, she is fond of skateboarding and enjoys spending her time in Venice Beach, California, where the energy vibes enable her to stretch her limits even further. Her next challenge is to qualify for Team USA for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in mono skiing.

Kanya Sesser is living proof that with energy, perseverance and passion all obstacles can be overcome. She aims to inspire more people with disabilities to fight for empowerment. She also wants to travel to tell her story.

To find out more about Kanya’s story, please see her Facebook page

Wheelchair Men, a comic book to empower disabled people !

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“I want to motivate people in wheelchairs, especially kids, to not give up on their dreams. Whatever they want to do they’ll do it 10 times better than if they had their legs because the pain and struggle that we go through makes us stronger.”

Mohammad Sayed

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Mohammad Sayed is from Afghanistan. He was only 5 years old when he suffered from a traumatic spinal cord injury when his home was bombed. His mother had died few days before of cancer. His father took him to a hospital in Kabul but never went back to pick him up.

The prognostic quickly arrived. He had a spinal injury and could never walk again. Having nowhere else to go, he just stayed there living with the other patients and wheeling around in his wheelchair. Some doctors including DR William, an American doctor took care of him.

To find a way to survive and provide his needs like food, clothes and school, he found little jobs like fixing the employee’s phone and teaching Farsi to foreigners in the hospital. He also enjoyed this time to learn English by listening to the BBC.

In 2007, due to incessant bombings the hospital had to be evacuated. Mohammad and some guards were the only ones to stay in this “ghost town” the hospital had become.  

Few weeks later, Maria Pia Sanchez, a nurse, friend of Dr William came to this hospital to see Mohammad. She wanted to give him a home in the US and adopted him.

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In 2012, when he was 12, he went to the US to receive a spinal treatment. He had to suffer from 12 difficult operations. He said :

“I tell people that I have died three times and come back to life – one was when I had my accident, one was when my father left me, and the third time was when I had this surgery.”

But those operations were successful and he doesn’t suffer anymore.

His life in the US was full of new challenges. He had to go to school in a totally different cultural context, where boys and girls are studying together and where dress codes and behaviors are not the same.

In 2014, once graduated from NuVu – a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) school,  he figured out that many companies were making products for wheelchair users but nothing for the wheelchair itself and that the market prices of those items were exorbitant. So he started designing his own inventions meant to be controlled BY the user FROM his wheelchair.

In the same time he developed his inventions, during a visit at the Boston Comic Con, the absence of superheroes representing the wheelchair community stroke him.

Deciding he wouldn’t wait for Marvel to do it, he started to create a superhero called Wheelchair Man based on his own real-life story. Arielle Epstein is the illustrator of his stories.

Meet Wheelchair Man !

“Wheelchair Man is a teenager, a Muslim and an immigrant. He’s against hatred and he wants to end violence and make this world a better place. One of his main superpowers is that he can make criminals see the consequence of a crime before they have even committed it.”

Mohammad Sayed

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But his idea doesn’t stop here. Mohammad wants to develop a comic book serie with an opus on four new superheroes: Wheelchair Woman, Wheelchair Girl, Wheelchair Boy and Captain Afghanistan. He also wishes to develop his comic into peaceful video games and movies.

“My goal is to help people in wheelchair[s] both psychologically and physically,” he says. “A world where every wheelchair user is empowered rather than disabled.”

Go for it Mohammad!

For now, you can help him editing his comic through the crowfunding platformhttps://www.gofundme.com/2r65vtwc

Learn more at : http://rimpower.org/

 

Bye Bye Plastic Bags !

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“Be the change you want to see” – Isabel WIJSEN

Fact:  Bali. 680 cubic meters of plastic garbage is generated each day. Only 5% of it is recycled.
Wish: Bali. An island free of plastic bags.

While many dream this dream Melati and Isabel, now 13 and 15 years old are realizing it.

And the road is a long one…

At their age most of us were playing with our friends after school, doing our homework or arguing with our siblings… These two little girls were launching an important social initiative for their homeland.

In April 2013, after an inspiring lesson in class about world famous individuals like Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Ghandi, they decided that there is no age limit in order to have an impact on society.

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And so “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” was born. 

 

Between 20 to 35 kids have now joined the movement and their impact is growing bigger and bigger, even crossing national borders.

From local initiatives like clean-up beaches, to a Ted Talk in London, through promotion and distribution of reusable and organic bags, the support of personalities like Ban Ki Moon or the creation of petitions to be signed by one million people, the two sisters are taking their project up to a very high level.

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With a great deal of perseverance, they managed to convince the commercial manager of Bali International Airport to have access behind the customs and immigration area to reach more tourists and collect more signatures for their petition.

Taking inspiration from Gandhi, they also went on a hunger strike to be noticed by the Government so it would take action for the environment.  After less than 48 hours into the strike, the Governor of Bali agreed to meet them to talk about how to stop plastic bags in Bali.

In June 2015, thanks to their tenacity, the Governor has committed to free Bali from Plastic bags by 2018.

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But the Wijsen sisters also know the importance of educating the local population first. Bye Bye Plastic Bag Free is working on an educational program to spread to schools and communities to teach them how to make their own reusable bags, in short how to become sustainable.

You can learn more on their website http://www.byebyeplasticbags.org/ .

In 3 years, the young girls have done an amazing job to help their environment and protect their land. They have declared that they’ll never stop until plastic bags are illegal in Bali.

And they are trying to motivate and incite kids from all over the world to join forces with them and implement this idea wherever they feel there is a need to it.

Melati and Isabel finished their Ted Talk with this beautiful and motivating statement.

“So to all the kids of this beautiful but challenging world, go for it! Make that difference! We are not telling you it’s gonna be easy, we’re telling you it’s gonna be worthy.

Us kids may only be 25% of the world’s population but we are 100% of the future”

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Helping disabled children overcome their disability … meet Shoeab!

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By Guddu, Operations Manager at The Soulcial Trust.

Click on the video to find out more about the Soulcial Trust field work with disabled children. You can read Shoeab’s story below the video.

One day I was walking down the street and met a woman with a curious look on her face. She was looking at my skateboard and asked me where I got it from. She explained that her young 12 year old boy was an amputee that was unable to walk since he was born. I immediately felt enthusiastic to help and asked her to tell me his story.

The boy, whose name is Shoeab, was diagnosed with a spina bifida, a permanently disabling birth defect. Consequently, the boy cannot and has never been able to do anything on his own since birth. She told me that she has to keep her son at home alone during the day while she goes to work. “How else will I pay my bills?” she asked.

I understood her situation and was curious about her son and his life, so we arranged for a time to meet in person. When I arrived, his father was holding him in his arms. I asked the boy how he was getting around in the house and outside. He replied « I don’t talk to anyone outside the house and I don’t go out ». Because of his disability, the boy is constantly dependent on the help of his family. He had no means of moving around on his own, so I decided to give him a skateboard. But first, his family needed to make some changes in their home.

The following month, I came back to visit the family with the skateboard. They moved to the ground floor of their apartment building, so that the son would be able to go in and out of the apartment. They also rearranged furniture throughout their rooms so that he could skate more easily. I gave him the skateboard and taught him how to use it : from the skateboard to the bed and from the bed to the couch. He also learned how to do simple tasks that he was once unable to do on his own, like going to the bathroom. The mother said to me “It is the first time he does this, it makes me feel so happy.” Thanks to his skateboard, he could now go outside and his life changed dramatically.

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This experience made me realize that there are thousands of people with amputations in India who could easily move independently if they had their own skateboards. It’s my mission to provide free skateboards to those who need them, along with teaching them the skills that will improve their lives and keep them mobile. It proves that little actions can have a big impact on an individual’s life.

Help us raise awareness about disability challenges in India. Share this experience with your friends and like our facebook page to keep track of our activities on reducing social exclusion for the disabled, as well as the other projects of The Soulcial Trust.

 

CAN’ART, the art of recycling

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With its eco-friendly products made from used drink cans, CAN’ART promotes both sustainability and women empowerment.

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Their story…

The idea for CAN’ART’s was born on Christmas Day 2012. Jean Baptiste and his wife Oeun came up with the idea to celebrate Christmas in a different way, with home-made decorations made of cans. From the Christmas tree to the candles, their house was transformed into an eco-friendly environment.

IMG_9140The Soulcial element…

From that day, the Franco-Khmer couple developed their own social enterprise of sustainable Cambodian products. With the help of an organised collection system, they gather millions of discarded aluminum cans, paying three times the market price. From the ragmen of Phnom Penh to the rural areas of the country, a large number of Cambodians now participate in the collection and recyxling process.

Today, Jean-Baptiste and his wife employ fifteen members of staff, most of them women, who process and file every can to transform them into fashion and decoration objects. The main goal of the “soulcial enterprise” is to provide them with a sustainable income that enables them to feed and educate their children.

Visit their shop at King’s Road shopping complex in Siem Reap and participate in this sustainable artful enterprise!  By purchasing in CAN’ART, you will help support a family and enjoy sustainable and decorative products.

You can learn more on this website : http://www.recreation-cambodia.com/

 

Things are moving in India !

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Flag_of_India.svgDisabled people represent 2.1% of the population in India. Across this huge developing country, disabled people face discrimination in their everyday lives, both within the society and at work. For those who have already travelled to India from developed countries, the conclusion is alarming: accessibility for disabled people there is either rare or nonexistent.

Recently however, the government has begun to implement special programs to help disabled persons. Through skills development programs, disabled people from rural areas will be given the chance to get a job and to be paid a minimum monthly salary of RS 26,000 (around 385 USD). The initiative comes after a series of other incentives recently carried out specifically for disabled people.

This gives enormous hope for a future where disabled people could stop facing discrimination in India. They already face more difficulties and challenges than able bodied people. There are plenty of jobs they can perform if they receive appropriate training.

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So, let’s encourage this kind of initiative and raise our voices for equality all around the world!

Read more about these incentives on the Hindustan Times via this link: http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/govt-plans-allowance-for-disabled-people-who-get-jobs/story-NnjQwtpkgdcXHBHrxB44oJ.html

Life & Hope Association

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“Bring HOPE into LIFE through EDUCATION”LHA

LHA helps many families to get through poverty by educating their children.
We talked about this association in the previous post with Nancy’s and Marion’s work.


Discover a testimony of one of the beneficiary of this NGO. 

Miss. Lort Yet

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She benefits from the Sustainable Community Project (SCP), one of the five programs of the LHA. She is an 18 year old from Chup Soum Village, Peak Snang Commune, Angkor Thom District. She has been studying grade 10 at Hun Sen Angkor Thom High School. Lort Yet is hoping to become a doctor.

“In the past my family was so poor, we did not have enough food, clothes, study materials, uniforms, bicycles, or shelter. After my family got support from SCP, we are much better, and I have a bike to go to school, study materials and a uniform. Mostly though, I have more time to study and my studies are much better than before, I always get excellent scores in my class. I am very excited and thankful to SCP and LHA which support my family.”

You can find others stories about these girls and families at this link: http://www.lifeandhopeangkor.org/about-us/our-stories/

Free Your Art, a name full of meaning

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Nancy and Marion’s work is a living example that you can always mix passion with sustainability.

Make a difference when buying your kids clothing, your own accessories or holiday souvenirs. Come visit Nancy & Marion’s ‘Free Your Art’ shop at King’s Road Siem Reap, 1 minute walk from the Old Market.

 

Their Story ….

Nancy and Marion are best friends since childhood, two artists, two eternal travellers who decided by chance to settle in Cambodia. Marion is a photographer who is also passionate about drawing. Nancy is a painter, captivated by the landscapes and the art of Asia. Both came to the conclusion that paintings are usually inaccessible and overpriced, so an idea came to their minds: why not put their own art on everyday life items such as clothing?

Free Your Art was born from that idea, combining art and utility, offering a large range of products from clothes to notebooks and also pillows and bags.

The Soulcial Element…

While doing what they love, Nancy and Marion decided to make a difference at the same time. To print their materials, they have an eco-friendly partner in the United States which sends them the merchandise to Cambodia; for the clothes and fabric production and sewing, they work closely with the NGO Life & Hope Sewing Center, which aims to train professional sewers and give them job security for the future.

The goal of the Life & Hope Association (LHA) is to “Bring HOPE into LIFE through EDUCATION”, they want to change the story of poor families by educating the youngest on different projects, the Sewing Training School is one of them. They developed the sewing center, to give young Cambodians a professional training and a job after school. This center mainly produces work uniforms but can realize any types of clothing or accessories such as Nancy and Marion’s clothes. (Read more about LHA on our next article :) )

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Their partner in the US, Spoon Flowers, uses sustainable raw materials, and have a sustainable and ethical business model. Nancy and Marion chose this company for the quality of their printings and for their eco-friendly attitude: Spoon-flower uses water-based pigment inks and dyes, with very little waste, they also use recyclable packages and focus on small companies to create a community. You can learn more about their impact on their website: http://grow.spoonflower.com/sustainability

Art for everyone: Meet Vannak !

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Meet Vannak, the visual impaired artist at Sunrise Cambodia, Siem Reap 

Prem Vannak is a visually impaired artist. He is 26 years old. Vannak studied painting in Phnom Penh and has been living and painting at Sunrise Cambodia in Siem Reap since September 2016. To date, he has created over 40 works of art. Most of his paintings are displayed in the Global Village Housing’s show house and Mday Thom Café restaurant in Siem Reap. Vannak’s mother is a manual worker and gets a laborer’s wage each day she works. Vannak always visits his mother and siblings on Public Holidays. His hope and aim is to become a famous painter as painting is his passion.

Before living in Sunrise Cambodia, Vannak lived alone with his mother after his father died in a mine explosion in 1997. Vannak has 2 younger brothers, Daracy and Mach, who has since deceased from Dengue and a sister named Polida. Vannak’s mother had a second husband named Soeun Sary and had another child, Soeun Ravuth. She was unable to support her children and send them to school, so her aunt requested Sunrise to take in and educate Vannak and his brothers.

vannak 3Vannak in his workshop

vannak 2Vannak working on his paintings

New Educational Program in Cambodia !

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Following the opening of the new branch office of the Soulcial Trust in Siem-Reap in January 2017, the Soulcial Trust team is working on the development of an educational program on disability adapted to the context in Cambodia.

 

Disability in Cambodia

The aim of this project, first established in India, is to help schools and organisations to understand more about disability in both countries and the complexities and challenges of living there for disabled people.

This educational program focuses on various aspects of life for disabled people in Cambodian Society from education to government policy, accessibility challenges, disability and employment among others.

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If you are or know a school, a business or an organization interested in learning more about “Disability in Cambodia” and would like us to present our project, please feel free to contact us at info@soulcialtravel.com

 

Workshop: Let’s be ecofriendly in Delhi

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BLOG1Last Saturday evening July 16, the Bed & Chai guesthouse co-organized an exciting workshop called: Let’s be eco-friendly in Delhi!, on the rooftop of their guesthouse, in GK1. The event was an opportunity for people to discover how to be eco-friendly in their city, New Delhi. The partners were environmentally friendly NGOs. Approximately received 30 people attended, which for a first event of its kind, was quite interesting. During the workshop, demonstrations of environmentally friendly gardening classes were given, as well as explanation of what could we create with recycled objects. The public included both local and expatriate people, as well as employees and guests of the guesthouse.

 

BLOG2The NGO partners were:
Swechha: Swechha is a youth-run, youth-focused NGO engaged in environmental, social development and active citizenship issues.
Daily Dump: Their objective is to reduce waste, improve material recovery, and enable better livelihoods through the voluntary collective action of urban citizens.
Goonj: Goonj is turning discarded & underutilized materials into tools to bring ignored issues to light & convert them into resources for rural development.
I say Organic: I Say Organic is a social enterprise which believes in giving people the option of eating safe food (grown without toxic chemicals and pesticides), while recognizing and supporting farmers who grow this food.

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Our Indian association the Soulcial Trust also had the honour to be among the participating NGOs. We spoke about the Soulcial Trust with its 3 main activities: the Soulcial Travel website Soulcialtravel.com, the educational project about disability issues and rights in India and the XLability project, which helps promote disability rights and awareness through sporting activities. Under the XLability project, we spoke about our next Swachh Bharat mission that took place on Saturday July 23, and we invited people to join us. We distributed some flyers during the event and we had a number of new NGOs sign up to become partners and run their volunteer requirement campaigns on our website.

We would like to offer our thanks to the Bed & Chai guesthouse for creating this great event and giving us the chance to raise awareness about our organization and activities. We look forward to future collaboration on similar such events.

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Visability for Disability campaign

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Soulcialtravel is pleased to announce, on the occasion of World Disability Day on Thursday 3 December 2015, its “Visability for Disability” campaign.

The objective  of the campaign, which is a long term project, is to raise awareness about the plight of disabled people in India in particular, but not only. Disabled people across the globe, even in developed countries, face challenges and exclusion in some form or other.

Soulcialtravel is launching its campaign to help deal with some of these issues. The campaign will have 2 major axes : the first is the development of a comprehensive educational programme explaining the issues for disabled people in India while showing the opportunities for disabled people, if given the opportunity, through employment, training, and through sport in particular. This educational programme will be taken to schools to spread awareness among children.

File 5-11-15 11 08 39The second axis is a international skills exchange programme between the wheelchair rugby teams of Delhi in India and two major teams in France, home to major national rugby teams. The Delhi team will receive training in France and then welcome back the French teams to receive further training in India. The two axes cross when the visitors from France will be able to come and present to the school classes and put on exhibition games of wheelchair rugby for the children.

For more information on how you or your company can help please write to us at michael@soulcialtravel.com.

LET’S VOLUNTEER IN INDIA – FINAL PART

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GOODBYE INDIA or rather ‘Au revoir’ (until we meet again)!

Time to leave India has come… My head is full of memories, pictures, and feelings. I will never forget the experience I have lived in Delhi during these 2 and half months. Some pictures will be stuck in my head for ever. Every day I met someone with new stories to tell me, I experienced new emotions and I learnt from different people.

India is a country of sensations; you cannot remain indifferent when faced with the everything it has to offer you – something new and different every day. Continue Reading →

LET’S VOLUNTEER IN INDIA – PART 4

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Why volunteering can sometimes be frustrating?

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The day you decide to volunteer, you are mostly well-intentioned. You have the desire to help, to live a human experience and to develop your own personality. You take it as an opportunity to serve others and to share with people who have been less fortunate than you in their life. When you join the NGO, you are fully motivated, you want to help the best you can and you want to be directly involved in the action. Continue Reading →

Help us help the disabled with as little as 5 USD

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Help us make a real impact with our crowd-funding campaign on IndiegogoWhere there’s a wheel there’s a way“…

With donations from as  little as 5 USD you can contribute to improving the lives disabled people  in Delhi through our NGO partner ESCIP Trust India. The funds raised will benefit individuals in need of basic necessities such as medical care and equipment like wheelchairs, protective gloves for those who have to move around on makeshift boards on wheels, physiotherapy and training to help them become more autonomous.

Every little bit helps so thank you for any help you contribution you can make. Some donations even provide you with perks as a token of our thanks so please check out the Indiegogo fundraising campaign and prepare your Christmas shopping list with gifts that will mean so much more…

 

Thank you!

LET’S VOLUNTEER IN INDIA – PART 3

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Why should you volunteer with an NGO?

Many of us often have a number of questions about volunteering… Why should I volunteer? Is it worth putting my other projects on hold for a while? How can I use my spare time to get involved in causes I care about? How can I be really of use to these causes?

After 6 weeks of volunteering experience in New Delhi, I would like to share my feelings about how you can help and why a volunteering experience can be really rewarding for you. Continue Reading →

LET’S VOLUNTEER IN INDIA – PART 2

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Why children can’t wait to get back to school

PART 2 of my journal as a volunteer with schools for the underprivileged in India.

Here we are, three weeks into my experience volunteering with a school for the underprivileged. I now feel closer to the children and I now know more about them, their habits and their personalities. One thing is amazing, they have a high tendency to smile and they easily become attached to you. What a pleasure to return to the children after a few days and notice that they have not forgotten you; they still want to play, tell you about their new hobbies and hug you as if you were their treasure.

Continue Reading →

LET’S VOLUNTEER IN INDIA – PART 1

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The first time you enter a classroom full of children saying with one voice ‘Good morning Ma’am’, you feel distracted, lost and you think: “How will I be able to manage this horde of kids?”. But, in fact, the only thing that you have to do is to take a seat and take time to listen to them; they will come to you with stories, ask you to play with them or just look at you with surprised big eyes.

Continue Reading →

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder

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Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, truly said; but with these kids who don’t have eyesight, they still see, feel, smell and find everything beautiful.

Humanity Foundation is an association which started in 2003 and has been managing visually challenged students by not only providing them education but also accommodation facilities and vocational training for self-earning schemes.

Continue Reading →

Soulcialtravel organises fundraising event to support specially abled people

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Skateboards, music, lights, happiness, songs and lots of laughs ! An appropriate summary of Soulcialtravel’s first fundraising event. “Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way!”, the theme of the event, took place on Saturday 23 May at Select CITYWALK to raise awareness and funds for ESCIP India. The event was held in association with iTeachMusic and Delhi’s only indoor skateboard park Free motion Sk8.

Continue Reading →

My time with special needs children in Ramnagar

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(NB. Pour la version originale en français, descendez jusqu’à la fin de l’article en anglais…)

Rural landscapes at last… O what a joy to leave behind the hustle and bustle, smells and pollution of New Delhi! And just when I thought I was going to relax (a little) in the calm countryside… well, not quite! I had an exhausting week but one I will never forget, volunteering at the Janet Sheed Roberts Residential School in Ramnagar for special needs children.  Situated in the small village of Basai (near Ramnagar, Uttarakhand) the school is in the grounds of a secondary school.

Continue Reading →

Earn a free meal at Chill & Chai

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Soulcialtravel.com is partnering with social enterprise coffee shop, Chill & Chai, situated in Khirki near Saket to provide a complimentary meal for two people for the best twelve contributions to the Soulcialtravel blog.

To qualify, all you have to do is write around 300 words about a volunteering experience you had with a charity or humanitarian organisation in the past year. The volunteer experience can be with a charity or similar social or humanitarian organisation, whether in Delhi, elsewhere in India, or in other developing countries. The best twelve contributions will be published over the next twelve weeks.

Send us the article along with some photos that you would like published along with the article and if it is suitable for publication, meets the criteria below and is published, you will qualify for a complimentary lunch – main course, drink and desert for two people – at Chill & Chai (open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday).

Continue Reading →

My Choices launches Respect2Protect

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My Choices recently crossed 1,000 cases (1,319 to be exact) handled and to celebrate they are launching the Respect2Protect Campaign!
At My Choices they firmly believe in the value and beauty and strength of every woman and girl. They also believe that the greatest gift a father can give his children is to respect and love their mother. Imagine an India where women and girls are valued and respected and treasured for all  they are! Imagine an India where a girl can roam around freely because she is protected by all! This campaign will inspire all of our to stand up and Respect2Protect. It will encourage men, young and old to step up into a position where they can and will respect and value women.
And for the women of this beautiful country, hopefully this will be a reminder for them that there are thousands and thousands of men out there who want to stand up and Respect2Protect! Continue Reading →

My Choices Cause and PeaceMaker Program

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In India, a violent crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes.  These crimes of violence occur at the hands of a husband or male family member. The most dangerous place to be for a woman in India is not at the bus stop, not walking home from work at night or from male co-workers, but in their own homes.

One contributing factor is engrained cultural bias. According to Unicef’s Global Report Card on Adolescents 2012, 57% of boys and 53% of girls in India think a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife.

The challenges to halt this tidal wave of violence against women are deeply complex. Continue Reading →

New in Delhi : Chill & Chai Coffee shop

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Check out Chill & Chai : the latest, greatest coffee shop in Delhi. It’s international, ethical and convivial !

Customers can enjoy the coffee shop inside or outside on the terrace and can work using  the complimentary Wi-Fi, organize meetings or just chat with friends while enjoying delicious fresh food.

Chill & Chai offers an ethical and cultural experience with  international and Indian food and drinks with a French touch, in a pleasant and artistic environment.

Located in the “Khoj Arts Studios ” in the heart of Delhi, S-17 Khirki Extension, the cafe is managed by two seasoned entrepreneurs who want to put their professional experience to serve a social purpose. 

Continue Reading →

Volunteer in our school for underprivileged children

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Hi, Thanks for your interest in Dili!

We run a small school in a slum area on the border of Delhi near Faridabad. We have around 15 students who come to our school on a daily basis. Teaching at our school is in English only and even during breaktime and at lunch time the children and teachers only communicate in English.We have regular classes in the morning, then lunch, followed by more informal group classes in the afternoon.  Continue Reading →

Walk with Kamalini in Shahpur Jat village

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Kamalini invites you to experience Shahpur Jat village in South Delhi. Kamalini, an NGO based in Shahpur Jat organises village walks on request.

You will discover the history of this wonderful village, visit 14th century monuments and see fashion designers at work in their workshops. The walk concludes with a visit of our project centre where you can meet the beneficaries of our work. Continue Reading →

Volunteer with street kids in Saket

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Whether you have 2 hours a day, a week or just 2 hours on a short trip to Delhi, your time is invaluable. Come and volunteer with street and slum kids at the Sunshine Project.

Whether you want to read, play, sing or just talk with the children, your precious time will be ever so more precious to the children. They come to the Sunshine Project centre each day before or after school where they do homework, wash and eat so they don’t have to spend time in the slums or on the street. Continue Reading →

Looking for volunteers for our charity in Delhi!‏

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Creative services support group is an NGO in Delhi.We look towards the creative sectors to providing opportunities for underprivileged young men and women post 18. We provide opportunities for the most marginalised young people in India, assisting them in working towards creating a financially secure future for themselves so they can live with dignity and without the need for charity. Continue Reading →

Get involved with Tara

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There are many ways you can get involved with Tara. You can become a volunteer and give some of your valuable time to the boys at the Tara Boys home or spend some time with the children at Tara Tots. We have local and expat volunteers helping us help the children – it’s a great way to give back to the community while in Delhi.

Would you like to spend a few hours a week learning from some inspiring kids, whilst they learn from you and all have great fun in the process!? Continue Reading →