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South African Adventure Road Trip Where You Get To Help Local Communities

Published on: 30 Mar, 2015
Updated on: 31 Mar, 2015

Lottie Reeves from Guildford is offering people seeking travel and adventure also the chance to help developing communities in South Africa.

In 2010 she set up a social enterprise scheme called Global Handprints. It currently offers two-week off-roading journeys that combine travelling off the beaten track, cultural experiences and traditions, adventure activities and ‘doing good’ at a variety of community run projects. The are called volunteer road trips.

Lottie Reeves set up social enterprise Global Handprints in 2010.

Lottie Reeves set up social enterprise Global Handprints in 2010.

While she was working at Holy Trinity School in Guildford as a teaching assistant, Lottie, now 32, says she was lucky enough to spend a month in Uganda volunteering at a primary school.

“I stayed with the school’s head teacher in a compound that often had no electricity and an outside toilet that was a gecko-filled hole in the ground,” she recalls.

“I was given a live chicken as a thank you present by a pupil’s grandmother and we ate it for supper that night – despite it apparently being too riddled with disease to keep as a ‘pet’!

Global Handprints“It was an extraordinary experience and I came home wanting more. Africa had got under my skin! Not only did I want to go back over and over again but I wanted other people to be able to experience what I had – a truly local experience getting involved in the community, coming home knowing what daily life in Africa can entail. A different experience to those often offered by larger, impersonal volunteer organisations.

“Since then I have completed a psychology degree, trained as a primary school teacher, taught in a challenging London school, lived and worked in Toronto, and travelled widely but I still keep returning to Africa with Global Handprints.”

Global Handprints has a social mission to inspire people to recognise their potential both at home within their local community and in a wider, international context; empower them to achieve this and to evolve locally established projects and services to meet the needs of their communities. It encourages people to leave their mark on the world through volunteering and travel. With that support, Global Handprints is able to invest towards its social purpose, enabling projects and communities around the world to evolve and develop.

Lottie went to Sandfield School, Holy Trinity School then King Edward’s School at Witley for a couple of years, followed by Glebelands School at Cranleigh and then Guildford College.

She studied psychology at Roehampton, then did a post-graduate certificate in education at South Bank, specialising in children with special needs. She then worked in a primary school in Brixton with special needs children. Her travels have also taken her to Australia and Canada where she lived for one year and two years, respectively.

Lottie adds: “I first started Global Handprints as a way for people from all backgrounds and at all points in their life, to have the opportunity to volunteer overseas in a way that meant experiencing the real culture.

“As a keen traveller, I like to explore any country I visit. While managing volunteer projects I identified that in many cases there is not time for the volunteer to see more of the country other than where they are based. I feel many people are faced with a conflict – should they volunteer but only experience the one area where they are based during their short time overseas, or should they use their limited time to travel and explore?

Volunteering includes spending time with young people in South Africa.

Volunteering includes spending time with young people in South Africa.

The volunteer road trips have been put together to encourage more people to get involved in volunteering, and Lottie says: “It means you can come home from a trip knowing you have left a positive ‘handprint’ on the lives of others while at the same time the trip has enabled you to get the most from your time experiencing South Africa.

“We work alongside community members to put together itineraries that incorporate adventure activities that are specific to each region, cultural activities enabling you to get to know the local customs and traditions; volunteer work enabling you to be involved in the development of small rural communities and off road, 4×4 travel exploring rural South Africa from the Wild Coast to the Drakensberg mountains. Our road trips aren’t just for people on a gap year, anyone and everyone with a sense of adventure and willingness to get involved, is welcome with open arms.

“Our Land Rovers get you from A to B the long way round in comfort and style. Unlike other overland tours, you can explore and see the real South Africa away from the highways. We drive through communities and villages, seeing their traditional homes and ways of life as we pass through.

“Our itineraries include varied volunteer work; from essay writing, reading and maths support groups for high school students, to agricultural data collection, including being a ‘big brother’ or ‘sister’ in a children’s home and everything in between. You don’t need any special skills or experience, just bring laughter, love, enthusiasm and an open mind and you’ll be surprised what a difference you can make.”

Lottie reeves loves exploring countries around the world.

Lottie Reeves loves exploring countries around the world.

Two-week community development road trips are priced at £1,300 per person. The are run in small groups with a maximum of five people in the Land Rover on any route at one time. The price includes on-the-ground transport from arrival right up until departure, three meals a day, bottled water, accommodation, adventure activity fees, cultural experiences and project donations / fees. Road trippers are required to purchase their own flights, visas, travel insurance and travel vaccinations prior to departure.

Check out Global Handprint’s website for more details, and follow on social media at @Global_Handprints / Global Handprints

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Responses to South African Adventure Road Trip Where You Get To Help Local Communities

  1. Shauna Stanton Reply

    April 2, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I have been aware of Global Handprints for sometime although having just read this article I didn’t realize the full extent of what they did.

    It’s great to see a young local woman who has been motivated to make a difference and to inspire others along their own personal journeys too.

    I wish Lottie all the very best in the next phase of her Global Handprints journey and I hope that this article will bring more awareness in Guildford of her work.

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