Restore A Monument; Build A Community
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How do monument restoration projects qualify as ecotourism?
Projects that focus on monument restoration tend to use traditional building techniques that are environmentally low-impact. Local materials are employed as are local specialists who supervise the international volunteers. The project creates jobs in the community, while the international volunteers provide an influx of money. When monuments are restored, villages are often revived. The following are examples of projects that benefit local communities:
- La Sabranenque (www.sabranenque.com/volunteer/index.htm) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving traditional buildings and techniques in Provence. The team strives for good stewardship of natural resources by cooking with locally grown fresh produce and building with natural materials, such as stone. Electricity is kept to a minimum, even for food preparation. The project began with the restoration of a castle but has since extended to the repair of various paths and buildings in the village. Two-week sessions in summer cost about $715 with room and delicous Mediterranean board included.
- Rempart (http://www.rempart.com/?LANG=2&IDINFO=11855) offers working holidays that are similar to la Sabranenque's in activity and cost, but it operates in several other regions of France and the world. Prices vary according to region and type of project.
- Habitat for Humanity (http://www.habitatforhumanity.org.uk/inv_gv_ind_cha.htm) helps people and their environment by using resource and energy efficient building methods. Volunteers help build low cost houses for families in need, who participate in the construction. Joining a two-week project in Romania will cost about $2500. The money goes toward building materials and the volunteers' transportation from London (point of departure) room, board, and insurance. A few days are also devoted to visiting people and places in the region.