IMPACT

New Site Tells Tourists What Their Destinations' Charities Need

A soon-to-be-launched online platform will provide a way for travelers to help support the countries they're visiting.

Travita, a London-based website and app which will connect travelers with charities at their destinations, recently won the Sabre hackathon in London, complete with a grand prize of 10,000 British pounds to develop the prototype.

The way it works is simple: The platform informs travelers which items charities at their destination need most, and provides a drop-off point right at the airport. The charity is then informed via text message when to pick up the donations. 

Travita developers say this will provide an easy and reliable way for people to make a difference. 

“Many travelers are reluctant to donate money to charities, because they may be unsure about where the money goes, and may want to shy away from voluntourism,” the app's developers wrote in a blog post about their project

The concept behind Travita is to get basic necessities, such as textbooks, to countries where such items are more expensive and difficult to access for poor, rural communities. 

Sameen Islam, one of the four developers of the platform, told The Huffington Post that Travita will use its social media channels to share regular updates from charities about how donations are being used.

Travita was the product of collaboration between three 19-year-old freshman computer science students from Queen Mary University of London and a 35-year-old with experience working with a startup. 

Islam told HuffPost that the platform will launch within the next six months and will be tested on one airline route to one country, and then expanded.

The company is also hoping to secure the support of airlines in order to get them to donate air miles to passengers who use Travita.  

 “The world is changing. People are now more aware and want to do their bit to help others around the world, but they want the process of donating to charities to be more transparent and accountable,” Islam said. “They want to help causes directly and that is where we come in.”
 
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