While sipping iced coffee in Thailand…

A conversation with a founder in Africa

While I was sipping an ice coffee and filling out my Myanmar visa application, a solitary fellow came along on a bicycle under the full might of the noon-time sun. He was more intrigued by makerspace just beside the cafe to notice the heat, and I was intrigued enough to stop my application.

It turns out Ben is a proud social entrepreneur based in Tanzania. When he climbed Kilimanjaro years ago, as a tourist, he was so frustrated by how little the porters were paid in relation to how much he had to pay for his trip that he began his own agency. His company, structured as a non-profit, works with 50+ porters and pays them fair living salaries so that they do not have to rely on tips. Additional profits go to environmental conservation of the areas that travellers visit, ensuring that future travellers can enjoy the same breathtaking experiences.Even though we only chatted for an hour before I had to catch my flight, we covered everything from good governance, attracting talent, financial structuring, salaries, sustainability models, and of course travel.What’s he up to next? Setting up another fair travel service.

*Note: All profiles are personal conversations I have with fascinating and inspiring people, and not sponsored or solicited.*

Benjamin Taghavi-Awal is the Founder of Fair Travel Tanzania

Originally published at thecupandtheroad.com on May 18, 2015.

Thinking about the intersection of social justice and tech, with a LGBTQ and POC lense.

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