As a company, Assam Bengal Navigation prided itself on adhering strongly to the principles of responsible tourism, long before this became a more common practice. Our aim, besides striving for the best level of service and experience for our guests, is to grow and nurture rural communities in the areas we operate in. Since our inception, we have invested heavily in many rural community development initiatives; one such example is our choice to employ young men and women from villages and train them in hospitality and English language skills.
In April 2017, we formalised our philanthropy into a legitimate charitable body, the ABN Foundation. A total of 5% of every room booked with Assam Bengal Navigation is contributed to the ABN Foundation to fund causes that support education, environmental protection efforts and rural community development.
EXISTING AND PLANNED INITIATIVES
Throughout Assam Bengal Navigation’s history, we have been involved in hospitality and English language training, talent development, reforestation programs, education sponsorships, and women’s empowerment through the set-up of weaving micro-enterprises.
IMPACT OF EDUCATION
In addition to providing training in hospitality and English language skills to young men and women from villages in Assam and Bengal, we work closely with the teachers of government-run schools with their Midday Meal Schemes. Together with the teachers, we have identified projects at schools that can make a positive impact on the quality of education, including initiatives like renovating the roof and floors of the school building, constructing lavatories, donating a library, or directly participating in the classroom through the organisation of field trips. Additionally, in 2019, we constructed the Baranagar English Tuition Centre to fuel the dreams of a passionate educator, Kalyan Mandal – a true changemaker in his village and an ambassador of the real India.
With the aim to support education, environment protection efforts and rural community development, a total of 5% of every room booked with Assam Bengal Navigation will be contributed to the ABN Foundation to fund these causes.
SUPPORTING LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS AND ARTISANS
A small way in which we have been able to support local entrepreneurs and artisans is by ensuring almost all of our ships' decor and the ships themselves have been handmade by local people. Our gift shops feature only work created by local artisans of the regions we operate in. We also try to support local endeavours in any way we can should they seek our help or partnership.
Our team members, especially our naturalists, are proud of where they come from and regularly make efforts to create awareness in villages about the cruelty of poaching, reducing plastic bag usage and general environmental care.
PATRON OF ARTS AND CULTURE
Having pioneered long-distance river cruising in India on the Brahmaputra river in Assam, the arts and culture of the state hold a special place in our hearts and we support them through local partners in the region.
Some initiatives we've undertaken include investments in health and hygiene programs in rural communities, aiding more schools by working with local teachers, and developing our fair-trade weaving unit to support rural women.
We believe that working in tandem with rural communities and local non-profit organisations is one of the most effective ways in which we can foster the growth of sustainable and responsible tourism in India. We are dedicated to positively impacting lives and livelihoods in the communities along the rivers and national parks we operate in. Guests of ABN have the opportunity to visit these schools and support the development of India's natural and cultural heritage.