Explore has unveiled a partnership with its founder Derek Moore to support a responsible travel charity that he established.

The Derek Moore Foundation works with small, grassroots projects in disadvantaged communities that are often overlooked by larger charities.

Moore is also chairman at The Specialist Travel Association (Aito), of which Explore is a member.

The Derek Moore Foundation has agreed to match Explore’s donations to its long-term charity partners: Mahouts Elephant Foundation and Lone Buffalo.

It will also co-fund Explore’s long-established Tour Leader Charity of the Year project, which awards funding to local charities nominated by one of Explore’s tour leaders.

MoreExplore founder Derek Moore sets up charitable foundation

Mahouts Elephant Foundation (MEF) is a UK-based charity which works to improve the lives of Asian elephants and their keepers – known as mahouts – working in the Thai tourism industry.

The MEF helps the mahouts to set up ethical elephant experiences where the elephant is returned to a protected forest habitat.

It is building a community centre for a village in northern Thailand, which will be used for adult education and training.

The funding will support the installation of solar panels for the centre, which will allow classes and other activities to be held during the evenings.

Explore offers a ‘mahouts elephant’ extension on its Thailand trips, which enables travellers to stay with a local hilltribe family and see former captive elephants in their natural habitat.

Lone Buffalo is a project which aims to teach English to young people in rural Laos, one of the world’s least developed countries.

The funding will support a class of 25 students for a year, ensuring that they receive free tuition in English as well as covering the salary of a local teacher.

Launched in August 2019, the Derek Moore Foundation also helps midwives working in Guatemala and a school library in Uganda, among other projects.

The charity has three trustees and has a project advisory board of three volunteers: Chris Rowles, treasurer of Aito; Fiona Jeffery, founder of Just a Drop; and Lyn Hughes, editor-in-chief of Wanderlust magazine.

Find out more about the foundation at thederekmoorefoundation.org.