K. Jill Rigby - Contributing Travel Editor
Getting tired of the same old tourist locales? Longing to travel to an exotic place? Interested in doing something meaningful like painting a new community centre in rural China or helping maintain the habitat of one of the world's rarest land birds, the Kakerori, in the Cook Islands? With so many organizations now catering to those who want to travel and do good, choosing a suitable destination and activity is as easy as flying to Cancun. You’ll have to pick up the airfare and some organizations have nominal program fees (food, lodging, work site transportation, program materials and administrative costs) but it’s all tax deductible. One of the highest-profile non-profits, Globe Aware, offers programs in Peru, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cuba, Nepal, Brazil, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Jamaica, and Romania. Like a mini peace corps, the one-week adventures are geared towards promoting cultural-awareness and sustainability. But if it’s the thought of working with orphans that tugs at your heartstrings, you may want to consider Child Haven. Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino, who adopted and brought up 19 boys and girls from 11 countries along with their two biological children, operate out of Maxville, Ontario. Seven orphanages are spread through Nepal, Tibet, India and Bangladesh.