For over 20 years, Exodus Travels Tour Leader, Roshan, has been leading the way when it comes to immersive travel experiences. An important part of his job as a guide, is seeing he can give back to his local community. Awarded the Responsible Tourism Award for playing an instrumental role in building 11 houses in the wake of the Sri Lanka tsunami in 2007, Roshan had a chance encounter with Kalu and his family while guiding tours in Sri Lanka.
Before they met Roshan, Kalu said, “We used to walk between 6-7km a day in search for paid work in the surrounding communities”, not knowing whether he would earn enough money to feed his family for the week. With the help of Roshan, who used his own personal funds and the money he received from winning the Exodus Leader of the Year Award, the family built a new home and created a sustainable business which has provided an invaluable source of income for Kalu and his family, and a unique local experience for Exodus’ travellers.
From a small mud hut in Giritale, just outside the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the Kalu farmhouse has been rebuilt into a modern house with electricity, running water and cooking utensils, so Kalu and Chandra could start building their business of creating authentic Sri Lankan meals. Exodus’ team leaders and Roshan ensured they had the training and equipment they needed to set up their own enterprise and for the past 10 years, Roshan has continued to take groups of travellers to the Kalu Farmhouse for an authentic village lunch, where most of the produce is locally grown in their surrounding gardens.