Active citizenship, community empowerment and volunteer experiences: how three Italian women are seeding the change and making responsible tourism bloom!
The Pollination Project community is made of volunteer grassroots leaders who put their time and energy in service of others without expectation of personal material gain.
Our changemakers of the week are three Italian young women, Claudia, Marta and Camilla, who are building their own community of volunteers focused on a more conscious approach to international volunteer tourism.
Travelling to help others as a volunteer is both a beautiful and challenging experience that requires understanding beyond just the skills needed for the work itself. It means not only working for people, but with people. It’s a matter of learning how to walk into a new community with grace, respecting the cultural and local dynamics.
“We all have the responsibility to make a difference by the way we act. We felt there was a need for responsible travel itineraries and volunteering experiences crafted to be sharable and nurture community empowerment all around the world,” they shared.
In 2019 they quit their previous jobs and founded LOTO, a cultural association, to raise awareness among future volunteers and travellers, training and preparing them to grow in cultural competence.
“It is necessary to be aware of the complexity of the environment before getting involved in it, both on a cultural and social level, and in terms of establishing relationships based on a responsible, aware and empathic attitude,” Marta explains.
LOTO collaborates with extraordinary partners in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Madagascar, Abruzzo and Lampedusa Island in order to create connections between travellers and projects, promoting a lifestyle that is fair to all and supporting projects focused on conservation and improving the human condition.
As the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, said, “The next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha will take the form of a community.”
This is how LOTO was born and the reason why our team of grant advisors chose to support them: from the care and attention in planting the first seed, the patience in seeing it blossom and the strength necessary to continue taking care of it, both as an individual and as a community.