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When was Discover Corps Founded? About us
Terra Education, the parent organization of Discover Corps, has been around for over 13 years, with our roots stemming from Africa. Our founder Fred Swaniker, founded and runs a prestigious leadership academy in Johannesburg, South Africa called African Leadership Academy. He was even recently honored on the TIME 100 list in 2019.
Flash forward a few years, and Discover Corps was founded by a Returning Peace Corps Volunteer, Andrew Motiwalla, in 2011, with the help of Fred and the CEO of Terra Education, Peter Mombaur.
Discover Corps was created to harness the power of travel – aiming to foster peace by forging ties of cultural understanding between people of different cultures. We also have a social mission to protect and preserve the geographic, ecological, and cultural environments we visit.
Founded upon the core tenets of volunteer service, sustainable travel, and cultural sensitivity, Discover Corps creates experiences that resonate with travelers from all parts of the world. Embracing our shared humanity, we facilitate change in the people we guide and the places we travel.
Below is a letter from our founder that introduced our 2019 Trip Catalog this year explaining how Discover Corps began. We are proud to share with you our story and hope to hear from you soon!
A Letter from Our Founder
The Discover Corps mission is the culmination of a lifetime of events for me. In 1996 I joined the Peace Corps, where I lived and worked in Central America for two years. During this time, I worked alongside local community groups to improve water quality for a rural village. But besides the volunteer project, I learned to see country through the eyes of a local. I shared in their challenges and triumphs, and even today, remain an advocate for my host community. Since then I have longed to give travelers a taste of my Peace Corps experience; to take them behind the scenes of the innovative community-based work that is happening all over the world. This was the genesis of Discover Corps.
On February 17, 2006, the day my first daughter was born, it became clear that our travels would take on a whole new dimension. Journeys with our daughter would become infused with a deeper purpose: passing down values such as global citizenship and cross-cultural understanding. When our second daughter was born, the depth of purpose became even more significant.
As we built Discover Corps, my daughters reminded me that volunteering and traveling also needs to be fun and comfortable. If we were going to succeed in our mission of providing purposeful travel for families and friends, we had to focus on five key components:
- Vacations must be fun, comfortable, and safe
- We must provide access to people, places, and events that most travelers rarely get to see
- Experiences must go beneath the surface; we must offer deep local immersion through local relations and activities like volunteer projects, workshops and excursions
- Local expert guides must provide the context and story that brings experiences to life
- Travel must be sustainable and responsible in practice with a bias towards local partnerships
Over the years, our network of community partners and Discover Corps travelers have created a type of travel that helps make the world a better place. We hope to welcome you soon to join us as an advocate for our planet’s natural wonders, cultural treasures, and local communities.
Andrew Motiwalla, Founder & Director