By: Tommy Dee, Past Volunteer in Tanzania & Nicaragua
Tommy first volunteered with GIVE in 2015, when he took a trip to Nicaragua. Inspired to see more of the world, he decided to volunteer with GIVE the following summer in Tanzania and Zanzibar. Upon returning home, the fire to continue igniting sustainable change was burning bright, and eventually led him to start a t-shirt company, Prevent The Trade, that doubles as a forum for activism against poaching. Tommy has devoted 10% of his t-shirt profits to GIVE Volunteers, helping not only to spread the awareness of the dangers of poaching, but also to provide funds for NGOs intent on preventing poaching in the African plains. Read Tommy's story below:
Prevent The Trade aims to change the world and stop poaching
When people think of Africa, they never imagine the beauty that really exists over there; and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I boarded my plane to Tanzania. I was nervous, scared, very curious, but most importantly I was excited. This was a trip that was like nothing I've ever experienced but my excitement grew each hour I was on the plane. After what felt like an eternity in the air, I had finally arrived in what I consider today as my favorite place on Earth. Right when we got off the plane in Africa we were walking around in this super crowded airport and the expectations of Africa seemed to be true. But when we got outside and started going to our destination, it was something I will never forget. We were volunteering on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania, teaching important educational skills and building the foundations of a couple schools where the locals would begin to pursue their dreams; dreams of which are similar to all of ours in America. These kids and all of the other locals have such a passion to learn and it's important for people to notice this and provide the help these wonderful people are looking for. One thing that I will always remember is the true passion and work ethic that all the locals have. They knew we were there to help but the amount of time and effort that they would put into learning or whatever it was was amazing; something I'll never forget.
Our second location in Tanzania was in the city of Arusha, where we were fortunate enough to learn more about the culture and way of life in Africa. The most memorable experience I'll take from this city was when we visited the children's orphanage. This is part of the African cliche that people think of when they think about Africa. What they don't know, however, is that these kids are some of the nicest kids I've ever had the pleasure of talking to and the desire that these kids also have to learn and become something is amazing. Despite the little amount of what they have, these kids are so happy. The amount of joy that was on their faces amazes me to this day. It's important to give back to others and to try and spread change around the world for the greater good.
Finally, let me talk to you about why I am starting this business of mine. We had the opportunity to go on a 2 day safari in Tanzania and this was one of the most exciting things I've ever experienced. Going in, I was excited to see lions, cheetahs, rhinos, elephants, leopards etc. However, rhinos are one of the most endangered species on this earth and you aren't likely to see them anymore in certain parts of Africa. That's why I am trying to raise awareness of this extreme problem known as poaching. Poaching in Africa is extremely problematic to a number of species in the wilderness. Mostly elephants and rhinos are poached for their tusks and horns. Many people claim they are for medicinal purposes but there is no proven evidence of this and at this point it is becoming an illegal trade of ivory for money. People need to take action and Prevent The Trade from occurring; and this won't happen overnight just by people telling others to stop poaching. There are groups in Africa that are trying their best to stop poaching but there is only so much they can do and it's hard without the money that they need to help prevent this. So the biggest cause of this website is to partner with GIVE Volunteers and some of their charities to spread the awareness of poaching and to get people to take initiative to help prevent the trade. 10% of all profits will be donated to these charities and hopefully it will bring change to this world.
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