Giving Back and Our Principles
Learn more about our own charity projects and our work with NGOs; our investment in people; our food and farming practices; our energy and plastic use, and more.
Our Own Charitable Projects
We have two charity streams: carrying out our own projects and also funding/working with NGOs. Because we have our roots in Sapa, plus an office, two lodges and an ultra race, this is where we undertake most of our own work.
Moreover, we have a project manager based in Sapa to oversee our charitable work.
In recent years, our focus has been on education. We have now re-built a number of schools in the area. Below you can see some ‘before and after’ photographs of schools we have re-built. For more detailed on two specific schools, you can read about the projects here and here. Other projects we have contributed to or fully funded include bridge construction and home improvements for those in hardship.
Our NGO partners
This charity both trains neonatal medical staff and provides vital equipment to increase the life chances of critically ill newborns. Alongside their work at the National Children’s Hospital, the charity works with Lao Cai hospital near Sapa and also Moc Chau, where we organise Vietnam Trail Marathon.
Both these projects are part-funded by Topas and the Moc Chau work is a direct result of our partnership.
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation
This charity works with street kids and also victims of human trafficking. The work they do is incredible and life changing and consistently amazes and inspires us at Topas.
Alongside providing funding, we also give free slots to our Vietnam Trail Series races and fund the Blue Dragon Running Club kids to come to the races – indeed two of them got first and second place at Vietnam Trail Marathon 5k!
In Vietnam over 2,000 children drown every year – more than any other country in South East Asia. Hue Help runs swim and downing prevention training, both directly teaching kids and also teaching teachers to become swim safety instructors. We have worked with Hue Help to create projects in Thanh Hoa province, an area where we hold Vietnam Jungle Marathon and where the drowning rate is higher than in many other provinces in the nation.
Operation Smile performs facial surgery to change the lives of young people in Vietnam. We’ve seen first hand the impact of this, with staff from the charity taking kids from around Sapa and Pu Luong into Hanoi for corrective surgery.
Investing in People
Sustainability is at the heart of our work, including at Topas Ecolodge which is a showcase of sustainable tourism in a remote area. We employ around 100 people, almost exclusively from local villages. Staff are given opportunities to progress and complete further training.
One example is a staff member who used to sell crafts near the lodge who then came in as a dishwasher and has since progressed to waitress and has since won wine waitress of the month. We also have staff from KOTO, an NGO which works to train disadvantaged youth in Vietnam.
Food and Farming
At our own lodges, food is sourced locally where possible and we focus on organic. We have a small local farm where we will raise livestock and we are building a pond for our own organic supply of fish.
We recognize that some of the resources we use to run our lodges are also valuable to the local community, therefore we work to share these resources, sharing what can be re-sued locally. For example, excess food from the breakfast buffet is sent to the local boarding school. Food scraps are used by local farmers as animal feed. Wherever possible on our Topas Travel tours we seek to work with suppliers and restaurants that follow our own internal standards.
Plastics, energy use, water treatment
We keep single use plastics to a minimum on our tours, at our lodges and at our events. We have pioneered waste reduction methods at our races that have since been adopted by other organisers, thus multiplying our impact.
We have invested in a constructed wetland, vital in wastewater treatment from our Ecolodge kitchen and laundry. We use salt water pools heated by the latest, most eco friendly systems. Another small example is that we do not use individual fridges in the lodge rooms, instead using ice boxes only when required, thus reducing unnecessary energy use. For more specific examples of eco efforts at the lodge, please visit that site here.
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Hanoi: 1B Alley 12/2/5 Dang Thai Mai St. Tay Ho District
Sapa: 15 Le Van Tam Street
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