Tag Archives: ecotourism

Helping vulnerable elephants in Thailand

18 Apr

Their skin looks tough and dry but the touch of an Asian elephant warms your insides. Volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, north Thailand, allows you to care for dozens of beautiful elephants that have been injured and vulnerable in the wild. I recently volunteered at the park and got some video footage while feeding the elephants, bathing them, and watching them thrive in safe open spaces. Check it out below.

By Marissa Toohey

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Building hope in the Mekong Delta

24 Mar

Click to read the full article in Exchange Magazine.

Our eyes locked across a flooded road at the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam. The man was standing in the doorway of his thatched, weary house on the banks of the river and his eyes told the story of decades of hardship. His pants were rolled up to his knees, just centimetres above the level of floodwater that had consumed his entire house.

I was on the other side of the road in the protection of a taxi. I was overwhelmed by the situation unfolding in front of me. Suddenly, the man smiled at me, happy to see a new face and I realised I have an opportunity to make a small difference.

Prior to my Australian Youth Ambassador for Development assignment in Vietnam, I wasn’t aware of how seriously the natural environment threatens the lives and livelihoods of people living in the Mekong Delta, which accounts for twenty per cent of the population. Before my assignment, I had never been to a developing country. Now, having stared into the eyes of an old man across a flooded road, I understand storms, floods and associated issues are affecting thousands of people every day damaging mass production of crops and fish, threatening the quality of surface and groundwater and exposing people to serious illnesses, including malaria and pneumonia.

In my position as Communications and Media Support Officer at Habitat for Humanity Vietnam (HFH Vietnam), I have also seen evidence of how simple, decent and affordable housing can improve the lives of people in the Mekong River Delta and around the country. Decent houses provide stability, improve health, safety and security, and enhance education and livelihoods for individuals and families.

Click here to read the full story on page one in Exchange Magazine.

By Marissa Toohey

Video! The Gibbon zip line experience

3 Mar

The Gibbon Experience is an ecotourism adventure; a system of zip lines that soar high above the jungle. Costs go towards initiatives that protect the Gibbon monkeys in Bokeo Nature Reserve in northern Laos. Check out the video to see why I almost wet my pants …

By Marissa Toohey

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