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"A solidarity trip teaches our children an absolutely unknown reality"

"A solidarity trip teaches our children an absolutely unknown reality"

Solidarity trip of Maria and her children to Thailand
Solidarity Trip of María and her children to Thailand.

This summer, María de Santiago and her two children had an experience they will never forget: a solidarity trip to the elephant shelter in Thailand. For her, volunteering is a “formative experience” for your children, and she is convinced that it is a "fundamental part of her personal development." How did the little ones react when they found out that they were going to Thailand to learn to take care of elephants? Don't miss his interview!

Was it the first trip to a distant place that you made as a family?

No, we had already traveled to Costa Rica, Kenya and Tanzania.

How did the idea of making this solidarity trip come about?

I have volunteered for many years here in Madrid and I have always wanted my children to do this activity as a fundamental part of their personal development. I received an email with information about the presentation of your trips in Madrid and we went to meet you there.
On the solidarity trip, you learn to care for elephants that have been victims of exploitation
In the solidarity trip, you learn to care for exploited elephants.

How did your children receive the news that they were going to participate in a project with elephants?

Delighted with life! Initially we thought of going to Bolivia to the animal collection center, but from Tumaini you advised us not to do it since they are wild animals and it could be dangerous. You redirected us to the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary and it was a tremendous success.

Do you think it is a good experience to live as a family and for boys and girls to enjoy? Because?

Doing solidarity activities just to collaborate with a good cause is a formative experience for our children in this "developed" world. All participants are taught an absolutely unknown reality and they are sensitized to situations that they would never have imagined. I think it's a way to educate our children, who live a comfortable life without major problems. They learn that there is another life very different from their own with circumstances in many difficult cases.
The experience was a learning experience for the little ones.
The experience was a learning experience for the little ones.

On the project, did you all work together?

Yes, we all did the same tasks. My kids were the only kids but that didn't make them have a hard time. They worked and enjoyed a lot in the same proportion. They felt part of the group of volunteers in the same conditions as the others. We did everything at the same time: wake up, work, eat, rest... all together! Although little by little they became more autonomous and in the rest periods they went to investigate on their own.

When they came back, how did they describe their experience? Was there anything that surprised you?

They told how hard they had worked with great pride and They have millions of very endearing and funny anecdotes, but you already know that children live in the immediate moment and that the past and the future are somewhat strange things. They have a very positive memory, that's why we want to repeat!
María's children worked as one more volunteer.
María's children worked as one more volunteer.

Would you recommend this trip to other families?

Definitely. It's fantastic, yes, it's not for everyone. You have to be willing to shower with cold water, eat delicious but vegetarian food, be hot, sleep on a mattress where the springs are noticeable... and work hard, hard! But it is also true that no one forces you, you work because you want to!
Together with other children during the solidarity trip
Together with other children during the solidarity trip.
Maria de Santiago traveled to elephant shelter thailand from August 21 to 27, 2017.


  • LaHeFe
    May 4, 2018

    That is my project for the summer of 2019, with my children who will be 8, 6 and 4 years old. Not the one with the elephants in particular, but a volunteer project, probably in Africa. We are all going to learn a lot, for sure.

  • almu
    May 10, 2018

    This comment has been removed by the author.


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