Our Vision

MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE IN THE SUPPORTED COMMUNITIES

We want to show that tourism done in a “right way”, means focusing on sustainable and authentic tourism, will offer communities new possibilities of self-realization and additional income to the existing income. Tourism will make a positive impact in the supported communities. Our aim is to develop tourism besides the existing income and point out, that the traditional ways of making money should be appreciated and continued. Sustainable tourism should always be seen as an ad-on and should never replace the traditional ways of making money for the community.

Our Mission

ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO BENEFIT FROM AUTHENTIC SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

VSocial Foundation wants to help communities to develop a sustainable tourism strategy and/or supporting them e.g. financially in different aspects (official guide trainings, etc). The aim is to help projects to benefit from sustainable tourism. Therefore we do not only support with money, more important in the knowledge transfer. We only support communities that want to establish sustainable tourism in their community by self-motivation.

 

Our Core Values

Self-Preservation

Self-Preservation

Our goal is assisting projects (communities) on their way to self-preservation.

After a specific time of support the communities should be able to maintain themselves without the support of VSocial. Self-preservation is the key to success. We will make it clear from the beginning, that the supported communities need to fix contracts with various sustainable partners and that they should not only focus on VSocial. We will assist them on their way.

Transparency

Transparency 

We are transparent.

We are transparent in everything we do. Not only financially, but also in our communication towards all our stakeholders. We continuously publish articles about our work on our homepage. Once a year, VSocial reports its use of funds in figures on its homepage under VSocial in numbers. Our low administrative costs could be covered every year by donations generated by our partners.

sayno

NO

We can say no!

Being a Foundation, helping people is in our DNA. But we believe in focusing in our core competency: Community Based Tourism Projects. This Core Values reminds us to say no to projects if it's not a good fit.

History

The idea of sustainable development work with VSocial in South America was born in 2002 from the commitment of the tour operator viventura (www.viventura.de/fr), which specialises in responsible tourism in South America and is part of Ventura TRAVEL (www.venturatravel.org). Since then, the VSocial Foundation has received a share of the travel price from each participant. The tour operator puraventura (www.puraventura.de/fr) (part of the Ventura TRAVEL Group), which specialises in sustainable travel to Central America, also supports the VSocial Foundation with a share of the travel prize.

In order to develop more independence and work more effectively, VSocial officially was founded as viSozial e.V. in 2005. In 2008, our Foundation received the recognition of charitable status from the responsible tax office and thus the authorization to issue donation certificates.

VSocial’s vision is to bring positive change to the communities supported by encouraging people to benefit from authentic, sustainable tourism. Our goal is to strengthen communities, to preserve their cultural wealth and to accompany them on their path to self-preservation. With our support we want to improve people’s livelihoods. For us, sustainability means involving the community in our work and thus ensuring that the people around the project work together. We create the basis on which people can develop independently.

Our work is based on mutual respect and trust.Our close relationships of trust that we maintain with the people in our projects, with our donors and within the team is ony of our key to success.

Our VSocial team consists of enthusiastic and local helpers, who are always in close contact with the people in the projects and the leaders of local cooperation partners. Our constant presence in the project countries ensures that our work is planned with great know-how and carried out with high efficiency and sustainability. Several thousand visitors who got to know our projects have already been convinced of this.

We cordially invite everyone to join us and are always looking forward to a visit or active “assistance” in our team. Interested? Please contact Susana (susana@vsocialfoundation.org)

Team

The VSocial board is a colorful mix of actors who all have a close connection to tourism, sustainability and community development and who have the heart in the right place.  Together, the team wants to support community projects globally.

Our team identifies with its work and has known the people in our projects for many years. Thus, the development of the projects is always directly visible to us. The partly voluntary commitment of our VSocial supporters goes far beyond the organisational work at the desk. We regularly spend our free time on projects and help with organisational questions. Our team is on site. Our employees live and work in regions where our projects are. We know the countries in which we live and their cultures, as well as the living conditions and needs of the people.

Andre Kiwitz
1st Chairman

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Driven by his wanderlust and passion for travel, which he wanted to turn into his profession, he made his first trip to South America over 15 years ago, marking the beginning of viventura and VSocial (viSozial e.V.). From the very beginning of planning, it was his essential concern to give something back to the countries he visited, so that this aspect became an important part of the business model. Already on his first trip with viventura, he laid the foundation stone for VSocial  through his social commitment and has since then supported VSocial with donations from his brand viventura (www.viventura.de/fr). Since he and his team set up the company internationally in 2016, it is also important to them to establish VSocial internationally in order to be able to support many more countries and communities in the future. He would like to contribute to this through his profound management knowledge. He works closely with  Susana, the general coordinator of VSocial.

Pablo von Vacano
2nd Chairman

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As the CEO of viventura, he has accompanied VSocial for many years, not only from a professional point of view, but above all because for him social commitment is a cornerstone of his view of society. The commitment of the VSocial team has always impressed him. Already some years ago he was allowed to be part of the board. He is fascinated by the upcoming realignment of the operating countries and the projects to be supported. He would like to support VSocial in their operational realignment. He and his team also work closely with Camilo, the coordinator for South America.

Jonathan Dehouck
3rd Chairman

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As the CEO of Puraventura (www.puraventura,de/fr) he wants the countries where his team organizes tours to benefit from their activities. Puraventura has been operating for almost 3 years and they have decided to donate from every trip to VSocial. The aim is to support projects that then become autonomous and continue to function without the support of puraventura. In order to achieve this and out of personal interest he is proud to be a member of the VSocial Executive Board. He and his team also work closely with Ifi, the coordinator for Central America.

Mariel Arroyo
Treasurer

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Mariel is Bolivian and has been with VSocial since 2013. She works as a financial controller at Ventura TRAVEL’s Berlin office. As a Bolivian, she recognized the social problems and poverty of South America early on and from close up, and it had always been her wish to do something good for these fearful people. Mariel has accompanied the VSocial team for many years both as treasurer and as first chairman of the association. She is responsible for all the legal and financial aspects of the foundation.

Susana Cerón Baumann General Coordinator

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Voluntary social commitment and working in the tourism industry are her two great passions. She has been working in tourism since 2000 and holds a degree in Tourism Business Administration (BA). For 5 years she volunteered in homeless relief work in Berlin. Over the years she has also been involved in various international projects, including a soup kitchen for the poor in New York. Since 2013 she has been coordinating a small project in Tamil Nadu India to provide access to education for 35 chaste girls. In 2015 she founded one of the largest voluntary initiatives in refugee aid in Berlin. She is very happy about her new responsibility at VSocial, because now she can finally live out her two great passions in one job.

Camilo Alvarado
Coordinator South America

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Camilo is Colombian. He has worked with many village and indigenous communities in his home country. He has been actively involved in the areas of human rights and local development in particular in recent years. It is his passion to work in a rural environment and to use it as a tool to create collective processes that enable the beneficiaries to live well. He was also involved in the development of national and Latin American networks in the field of community-based tourism in order to provide entrepreneurs with a platform for the exchange of experience.

Ifigenia Garita Canet
Coordinator Central America

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Ifi is our project coordinator for Central America. She is an enthusiastic and energetic tropical biologist. It is characterised by its high level of social responsibility. She was responsible for the social, environmental and economic development of tourism on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. She is strongly convinced of the empowerment of communities and wants to ensure people’s well-being and environmental protection through its current activities.

Honored Expert Advisor

Tom Jungh

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Tom has been active with VSocial for many years. Since 2001 he runs his own incoming office in Ecuador. When he emigrated to Ecuador it was his heart's desire from the beginning to get actively involved in the communities. Therefore he is involved in various community projects. Due to his wealth of experience he is of great importance for VSocial, because he not only has the theoretical knowledge, but also knows exactly what the needs of the communities are. In addition, he enjoys great trust in the communities and knows the culture-specific peculiarities.