Rosie Driffill reveals a selection of great places to stay that also put something back into the community
These five enterprises bring sustainable social initiatives and hospitality together in a way that puts migrants and marginalised workers’ rights and ideas first.
Run by children that were formerly living on the streets, Kiboko Lodge is located in the heart of the stunning Arusha National Park. Complete with 19 bedrooms and a large communal dining room, the hotel’s most compelling feature is undoubtedly its sprawling garden of banana trees and acacias that backs onto Mount Meru.
Not convinced? Guests are invited to watch as birds of all colours convene over a wide swamp, beneath which resides local hero Kiboko, the hippopotamus.
At Grandhotel Cosmopolis, guests and asylum seekers stay in the same building, allowing for ample opportunity for story sharing and awareness raising. Particularly popular with families, this hotel offers 12 fully-furnished bedrooms as well as four ground-floor hostel rooms, allowing for a range of guests with varying travel ambitions and backgrounds.
Scalabrini Centre funds projects that support and empower asylum seekers in the region. Offering development and welfare programmes to migrant communities, it puts basic needs and human rights at the centre of its work.
With a team of 26 people and the revolving help of about 40 volunteers, Scalabrini Centre caters to both the budget traveller and those looking for a little more luxury with its dorms and double rooms. It also offers welfare, training and assistance to people in the local community who need it.
The Magdas hotel offers training and employment to former asylum seekers.
Paid and supported in line with industry standards, employees are taken on as an affront to Austrian immigration law, which generally stipulates that asylum seekers do not have the right to work until their claim is processed. Multilingual and often multi-skilled employees greet and share stories with guests and locals in the chic '50s-style bar, which is always lively at the weekends.
Friends the Restaurant trains marginalised young people in the catering field and beyond.
It is an offshoot of global initiative Friends-International, which has developed innovative and holistic approaches to social enterprise, mixing good practice social work with effectual social business models.
Rosie Driffill is a freelance writer based in Leeds. She specialises in sustainable living and green travel, but has also written on topics that range from mental health to music festivals. In her spare time she enjoys running, learning languages and trying to convince people of the benefits of hitchhiking. Follow her adventures @RosieDriffill.
Main image: Smiling children helped by a community project (Shutterstock)