Trekking for Kids

Washington, D.C.

Nov 2, 2011
Outside Magazine
Inca Trail

Inca Trail    Photo: Emmanuel Dyan/Flickr

BY THE NUMBERS: Nearly $400,000 raised for ten orphanages in developing countries since 2005
WHO'S IN CHARGE: José Montero, 40, president of the Montero Group, a D.C.–based consulting firm
WHAT IT DOES: When siblings José and Ana Maria Montero decided to hike the Inca Trail in 2005, they wanted to give something back to the Peruvian community. Their father, Pepe, who’d lost his parents during the Spanish Civil War, suggested raising money for orphanages, and Trekking for Kids (TFK) was born. Now the small group—which ­operates mostly with volunteers and an annual budget of about $32,000—­organizes walka­thon-style treks, bringing money and volunteer labor to remote areas. Each trekker raises a minimum of $1,000 for the chosen orphanage and pays his or her own travel expenses. For two days before the trek, the group completes a project they’ve raised money for, such as building a new dormitory or renovating kitchens. After as many as eight days on the trail, trekkers return and take the orphans on a field trip, like ­zip-lining, hiking, or visiting a children’s museum. So far, volunteers have gone to Peru, Nepal, Ecuador, Morocco, ­Guatemala, Tanzania, and Thailand, raising as much as $60,000 for each orphanage.
EXTRA CREDIT: Combines adventure with purpose-driven travel, and every dollar raised for a project goes to the project
LOOKING AHEAD: Upcoming expeditions include ­Patagonia and Romania next summer. TFK aims to expand corporate sponsorships to cover ­administrative expenses and increase the number of trips it offers, with programs geared toward college students, families, and corporate team building.