These 2 India-based NGOs Are Saving Tigers, Empowering Villagers and Helping Travelers with Disabilities See the World

When travel is used as a force for good, it can help provide economic empowerment to communities around the world by creating jobs that pay living wages while preserving traditions at risk of being lost.

By Jeff Chu

Mar 29, 2021

Dastkar Ranthambhore


WHEN THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT established Ranthambore National Park in the state of Rajasthan 40 years ago, it preserved the habitat of the endangered Bengal tiger—but displaced the communities that lived within its new boundaries. Enter the nonprofit Dastkar Ranthambhore, which aimed to create economic stability by training the relocated villagers in traditional crafts practiced less and less by younger generations, including pottery, embroidery, quilting, and block printing.

Their creations, many of them tiger-themed, are sold to tourists visiting Ranthambore—making the park a win-win for both tigers and humans—as well as in shops across India and now online. Since 2004, Dastkar Ranthambhore has helped hundreds of women, many illiterate, achieve financial independence, fund their children’s education, and better their families’ living conditions while reviving part of India’s rich artisanal culture.

Planet Abled


IN 2009, NEHA ARORA visited a temple in Kerala, India, with her parents. Her father is blind, her mother a wheelchair user, and they encountered persistent inaccessibility, as they did whenever they traveled. “My parents said, ‘Accept it,’” she says. She wouldn’t—and her loud advocacy incited what she calls “a mob fight” at the temple. The incident inspired Arora to start Planet Abled, her Delhi-based travel company. “It’s not the disability that disables a traveler. It’s the environment and thought process of society,” she says.

In each destination, her team trains hotel staff, drivers, and guides; maps accessible routes; lobbies officials for better infrastructure; and even creates 3-D-printed models of monuments to offer blind travelers tactile experiences. She now sends travelers to more than 40 Asian destinations—“Singapore is most accessible”—and plans to branch out to Europe. Arora hopes that her work will benefit all visitors. “People with disabilities should have the freedom to travel just like anyone else,” Arora says. “My mission is to change how travel happens, so we don’t need a separate travel company.”

Hotels & Resorts

World’s Best Awards 2021: Top 100 Hotels in the World

The top 100 Best Hotels Overall in 2021 as voted by our readers in the World’s Best Awards.

Shanghai Travel Guide

Tips & News

The Biggest Astronomy Museum in the World Just Opened in Shanghai

The design of this cosmic museum is out of this world.


Taking Thailand’s South By Motorcycle

Touring the south of Thailand on a vintage motorcycle is a chance for Duncan Forgan to get a true taste of the region and its limestone karsts, abandoned beaches and more than a plate or two of spicy food.

Hotels & Resorts

These Hotel Activities for Kids Are Way Cooler Than Summer Camp

After all that virtual school, kids need hands-on learning more than ever. Could these resorts — and their next-level educational programs — be the answer?


Tips & News

Greece Officially Reopened to Tourists — Here’s What to Know Now

Greece officially reopened for tourism, the latest southern European country to do so. We’ve got a great new place for you to stay in Mykonos.