Over the past year and a half, multiple institutions and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) working in Raa Atoll, Maldives, have received vital funding from JOALI, the renowned luxury lifestyle and hospitality brand with two award-winning properties in the region.
JOALI Maldives, the brand’s art-immersive luxury resort in Raa Atoll, carries out an annual festive fundraiser with guests and hosts donating funds for worthy causes. Over the 2021-22 festive period, funds were raised as part of a collaborative art project, with guests joining the resort’s resident artist to glaze ceramic fish, each with a unique personal flair. The final artwork was a striking composition of all the individual fishes, swimming joyfully in unison – a powerful symbol of collaboration.
“This initiative is part of JOALI’s broader efforts around the ‘joy of caring’. Each aspect of our culture and strategy is designed to reflect responsible luxury,” says Enver Arslan, General Manager of JOALI Maldives. “We cherish the positive impact we have been able to create during our time in the Maldives.”
Supporting Impactful Local Projects
The funds raised over the 2021-22 festive period by JOALI were donated to three NGOs working in the Maldives, with the aim of supporting several crucial initiatives:
• Olive Ridley Project: focused on protecting sea turtles and their habitats in Raa Atoll through rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, education and outreach.
• Women in Tech Maldives: aimed at promoting, empowering and celebrating women in science and technology.
• Zero Waste Maldives: working to promote sustainability and reduce environmental impact across the archipelago.
The above projects are being managed collectively by JOALI Maldives and its sister property JOALI BEING, the brand’s wellbeing island, also situated in Raa Atoll.
Creating Real Change
Utilising the JOALI Festive Donation, Women in Tech Maldives conducted the #CodeforClimateMV project at the Raa Atoll School in Raa Dhuvaafaru. This programme trained 18 girls in coding skills, including Python and Machine Learning. The project concluded in September 2022.
In October 2022, Zero Waste Maldives used the funds to launch the ongoing #FehiFathi project in Raa Ungoofaaru. The organisation is working with the Ungoofaaru Women’s Development Committee to reduce the amount of fabric waste that ends up in landfills by rescuing clothes that can be used second-hand or upcycled. This initiative also empowers local seamstresses by providing them with an entrepreneurial opportunity. Over 15 local seamstresses are involved in the project.
Another Milestone in the Making
May 24, 2023 marked the start of an exciting new phase enabled by the JOALI Festive Donation. The Olive Ridley Project is set to begin a two-week community tour around Raa Atoll, focused on raising awareness around sea turtle conservation. A team of marine biologists from JOALI and the Olive Ridley Project, as well as educational officers from the Olive Ridley Project, will conduct multi-stakeholder awareness sessions at six islands in Raa Atoll, namely Madduvari, Meedhoo, Kinolhas, Fainu, Inguraidhoo and Vandhoo.
The expert team will visit local schools, councils, women’s development committees, fishermen, and other community groups with the aim of increasing environmental literacy and providing residents with the knowledge and skills they need to actively participate in the protection and improvement of their local habitats.
The Olive Ridley Project believes that education is a powerful tool to build awareness and engage people – especially young people – and thereby stimulate action at the local, international and policy levels.
This belief is strongly shared by JOALI. “Our team views knowledge-sharing and local empowerment as critical avenues to preserving the incomparable natural legacy of the Maldives,” says Özgür Cengiz, General Manager of JOALI BEING.
Funds from JOALI will continue to support the community outreach programme, with multiple tours scheduled across the rest of the islands in Raa Atoll later this year.
In addition, JOALI BEING is set to open the doors of its new Olive Ridley Turtle Rehabilitation Centre soon. At this purpose-built venue, rescued sea turtles will be nursed back to health by the island’s resident sea turtle biologist. The centre will also function as a hub for turtle-focused research efforts in the area.
A Brand Rooted in Local Community
Sustainability in Raa Atoll is a key focus area for JOALI, with a focus on safeguarding the planet, fostering wellbeing, creating platforms for women, and nurturing ethical consumption. In 2023, the brand launched the JOALI Sustainability Fund to provide funding for 10 local projects that align with its focus areas. The grant will award funds to the first five projects in June 2023.
Since its arrival in the Maldives, JOALI has demonstrated its commitment to the local community in a variety of meaningful ways. The team has partnered with Maldivian organisations to aid the training of girls in local schools; provide hospitality internships for aspiring candidates; and conduct virtual educational sessions for local university students.
Both JOALI BEING and JOALI Maldives also host regular school visits, enabling local students to see luxury hospitality in action and learn first-hand about job opportunities in the industry. The goal is to ensure that every school in Raa Atoll receives this opportunity at least once a year.
For further details and booking, please visit www.joali.com
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