Organizations: Go, Eat, Give
When Sucheta Rawal was growing up in India, her grandmother worked as a host for a travel exchange program.
“People from all over the world stayed with her, so I was exposed to so many cultures,” says Rawal, who eventually became a food and travel writer based in Atlanta.
Seeking ways to make her excursions more meaningful, she did a couple of “volunteer vacations” in Russia, where she worked with children in orphanages, and in Morocco, where she taught women’s empowerment classes. “I realized how much richer and deeper I could experience a place when I was giving back to it,” says Rawal, who makes a beeline to farmers markets and mom-and-pop eateries on her trips, “and I realized that a lot of people just don’t know about these opportunities.”
So last year, she started a website that grew into a global, foodie-oriented nonprofit called “Go, Eat, Give,” with the motto “connecting people, places and palates.”
The organization partners with charities and hosts around the world to arrange vacations that, for a flat fee, cover lodging, transportation and other logistics, and coordinate volunteer work matched to interests and skills.
Participants can teach English; do construction work; help in children’s hospitals, senior centers and refugee camps; or assist local women in micro-financed enterprises, among other activities – seasoned with instruction in indigenous cookery.
“In Morocco, I taught a grandmother who wanted to learn English so she could follow Desperate Housewives,” Rawal says. “Once you do volunteer vacations, you won’t want to stay at hotels and hit the tourist traps.”
GEG also holds monthly classes in cooking and culture at restaurants around Atlanta.
For information, visit www.goeatgive.com.