Ethical Travel & Women’s Empowerment
Our mission is to help empower women through participation in ethical travel, responsible service work, internships and other gap year activities that foster resilience, personal growth and greater global awareness.
At our core, we believe in the power of experiential learning and intentional travel to change lives—to humble, to inspire, and to deconstruct previously held narratives about ourselves and the world around us. We aim to nurture our clients to be more self-reflective and aware of their position in the world, to uncover their conditioned beliefs and behaviors, and to become better global citizens.
Vibrant Gap Year is a coaching and consulting business primarily for women by women. We understand the challenges of transitioning into womanhood in a world that is so often unsupportive of our growth. We believe that empowering women to be their full selves not only benefits the individual, but the world around her.
Recognizing that not all women are the same, we seek to provide our clients with the customized support that they need to get the most out of their gap time, to position themselves strongly and fiercely in the world and to be ready to take on anything that comes their way.
While we focus on women we do not discriminate based on gender, race, age, sexual preference, socio-economic status, or religion and offer services to anyone who would like to work with us.
Responsible and ethical travel is ingrained in the services we provide, and we only propose gap opportunities that are considerate in their approach to the environment and to the communities visited.
Through extensive vetting, we do our best to ensure that gap year and volunteer programs maintain current ‘best practices’ in order to maximize the benefits for students and for host communities. As such, we use the Fair Trade Learning set of standards to guide our recommendations, and we place risk management and safety at the forefront of our research.
We recognize that travel and volunteering can lead to positive exchanges and wonderful change, but that it can also be extremely problematic when proper attention is not paid to the environment and communities in which we engage.
In particular, we pay strong attention to the next points:
Vulnerable Peoples: Vibrant discourages volunteers from working with vulnerable people, including orphans and other children particularly without proper training and support. Where programs work with children, we encourage background checks on volunteers and where not feasible, we expect a minimum assurance that children are not left alone with volunteers.
Healthcare and medical work opportunities: Vibrant does not encourage or recommend programs that allow untrained volunteers to undertake medical procedures on patients. We will recommend programs, assuming they meet all of our other vetting criteria, that allow shadowing and non-invasive procedures to be performed such as taking vitals.
Animal welfare and wildlife: Prioritizing the wellbeing of domesticated or wild animals is our starting point for vetting programs that work with wildlife. Vibrant does not recommend opportunities that allow for the inappropriate treatment of animals and this includes but is not limited to: direct contact with large cats like lions and tigers; drugging or sedating of animals for tourism purposes or evidence in the past of canned hunting or poaching. Animals used for tourism must be respected, and we do not recommend sites where animals are not well treated (fake elephant shelters in Thailand, horse or donkey riding in Europe, swimming with whale sharks, dolphins).
Even though we have relationships with organizations around the world, in line with our commitment to ethical travel, we do not accept commissions from organizations we recommend.
In line with our core values, we commit to giving 1% of our gross sales to 1% for the Planet.
Additionally, we commit to giving 1% of our gross sales to support girl’s education and equity. Some of the organizations that we support each year include but are not limited to: UNICEF Equity for Girls, Malala Fund, and Girl Up.