How I donated $300,000 Thanks to My Blog

The title may be a little ‘clickbaity’. Apologies. But I want to show people what’s possible when they take action. The $300,000 has been donated, raised and responsibility for building projects through both my non-profit Mudita Adventures, and a few other fund raising activities I’ve figureheaded. None of it would be possible without the help of everyone else in my life. So thank you everyone! Now, let’s have a look at how we managed to donate over $300,000USD.

Growing up in Ireland, on welfare, just my mum, my sister and me. It was tough to imagine ever being free. Free to follow my dreams, to live in a foreign country, to travel to every country, to CLIMB EVEREST! Crazy. But it was traveling that changed my life. Along with starting this blog. And i’m so, so grateful for so many things. Not least for having the upbringing that I did. That gave me these deep desires to chase my dreams.

But it’s not lost on me that it was travel that changed everything for me. And because of that, I feel obliged to try to give something back. That idea, back in 2015, is what made me start our little foundation (Mudita Adventures), and also when my mum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, what made me want to raise money to search for a cure. And we can leverage travel to do that.

Since then, we’ve managed to raise and donate over $300,000USD for worthwhile causes around the world. From malaria clinics in Myanmar, to water wells in Ethiopia. Using a lot of my connections from my travels to every country, it’s allowed us to allocate our funds right at a grass-roots level.

Here is a quick breakdown of the work we’ve done over the years, I hope it helps show what’s possible just be taking actions and not being (too) scared to fail:

Donating to charity
An example of one of the schools we’ve built over the years. This one for a Burmese refugee community in Thailand.


Before we discuss our past projects, I’m about to launch our ‘skiing in Afghanistan‘ charity food donation trip. Come and join me in Afghanistan in February 2024. You can find more info HERE.

Market Stalls for a single-mother’s community. Kolda, Senegal

$7,000USD. This is where it all started. One of my closest friends, Josh and I were traveling overland in West and Central Africa. Some of the sights you see are quite tough, so we thought we’d try to raise some money for a project in Senegal, where we had a contact with an NGO there. We crowdfunded, encouraging people to donate by confirming that we’ll draw a name out of hat of all the donors, and the winner, we’d fly to Senegal to travel with Josh and me, and to see the work that money would do.

What we didn’t expect though, was a chunk of people who donated to the project emailed us and said “I know we didn’t win the free trip, but can we pay to come and join?”. With that our little non-profit foundation was born. We ended up with a group of 8 or 9 of us. Traveling around Senegal together, and carrying out the project work.

We worked in a region in Kolda, Senegal where lots of mothers were selling their wares on the dusty ground all day in the market area, our money could be used to hire local carpenters to create market stalls/tables for them so they can sell their stuff with more dignity, on a table, where they can sit down on a chair and display what they have on offer, rather than on a plastic sheet on the dusty ground. In addition to that, we’d be donating bags of rice, and sporting goods around a few other schools and families in the region.

We charged people $999 to join us. We had no idea what to charge so just made the price up. In the end it didn’t even cover costs and Josh and I had to make-up the shortcomings! The trip was a success but we made a lot of errors too, spreading our limited donations too thin across multiple projects being the main one. We were determined to do it again, but better.

Mudita Adventures
Thanking the community in Kolda for welcoming us
Donating to charity
The local women receiving their new market stalls

Playground and kindergarten in Cambodia

$11,500USD. More info Here. With the success of Senegal, we now knew that people wanted to come and have an adventure, but also give back! So the following year, learning from our mistakes in Senegal we launched a trip for Thailand and Cambodia.

In Battambang, we knew of a former monk who had funded his own little school, trying to break free from the corruption of the Cambodian system. We went there and renovated their whole Kindgergarten and gave the kids in the community their first ever playground. They went crazy!

We also donated a host of items, including 16 bicycles, allowing the school to run bike-tours and now earn an income to help fund the school.

You can watch a youtube video of it HERE:

Our playground in Cambodia
Our playground in Cambodia
Our playground in Cambodia
Our playground in Cambodia

2 playgrounds and a dormitory, Burmese refugee community, Northern Thailand.

$10,500USD. More info Here. We were on a roll! Through one of my best mates, Carl, we met David a burmese refugee living on the Thai-Myanmar border. We hired David as our project coordinator (and still to this day, we work with him) and we funded a new dormitory so the kids in the community would have their ow beds, and a water-tight building for the first time in their lives. As well as 2 playgrounds for 2 nearby communities.

Watch the youtube video here:

Another new playground!
Another new playground!
donating to charity
A dorm so the kids have real beds and a watertight building for the first time in their lives

A new primary school, Hmawbi village, Myanmar

$10,110. More info Here. Off to Myanmar this time. We partnered with a wealthy Burmese guy we knew, and together we built a whole new set-up for a rural school.

Watch the video here:

Before and after our help

Upgraded an NGO school, New Delhi, India

$10,000. More info Here. One of my blog readers told us a sad but beautiful story about how her family was funding a school for the children of Indian labourers. The families couldn’t afford the $0.10 weekly bus fare to get to the free Government schools, so this lovely family created their own school for the kids.

We renovated their grounds and upgraded all their classrooms to ‘smart classrooms’ to bring them up to speed with the Indian Government standards. We also funded a whole day out for all the kids, complete with clowns, make-up artists, picnics and sports.

A new home economics centre, Aeta Community, Philippines

$9,600. More info Here. A big project! We heard of a Filipina nun who lived her house 50+ years ago to live with the indigenous ‘mountain people’ of Luzon island, in the Philippines. The Aeta. They didn’t even speak Tagalog, the national language. Over a series of DECADES she taught the community Tagalog, allowing them to then begin work as labourers, farmers etc outside the mountains. As tourism grew, she then began teaching them English, allowing them to work in hospitality, making more money.

Now, we funded a ‘home economics’ building. Essentially a kitchen and faux-hotel rooms, allowing the community to learn how to be hotel workers, and tourism staff. Allowing them to break the cycle of poverty for good.

Watch the video here:

Before and after our help

3 new classrooms, Illkurei community, Tanzania

$10,500. Here. Our first time to Tanzania, a place we would return to countless times. Jo, now a good friend of mine, grew up in a Maasai community in Arusha, Tanzania. The school there had been neglected by the local government for years. We wanted to help with some new classrooms. What an amazing place. It’s no wonder I’ve been back 4 or 5 times since!

Watch the video HERE:

Before and after our help
Before and after our help

New kindergarten, Thaprek community, Nepal.

$8,500. More info Here. We went deep into the himalayas to build a new kindergarten for a mountain community, not so far from Pokhara. We also renovated their kitche, their dining room and installed functional toilets for the school.

Watch the youtube video here:

Running water project, Ziway, Ethiopia

$10,000. Back to Africa, this time Ethiopia. We wanted to fund a source of water for a community south of Addis Ababa. Logistically this was a nightmare, but we got it done in the end! Meaning that the community now no longer needs to spend 90 minutes each way, a 3 hour round trip, to access clean water. With the rest of the funds, we spruced up the community school.

Watch the video here:

New library, Pupuan Community, Bali.

$12,000. One of my favourite ever projects. An entire new library. New building, new area to read, and fully kitted with books, shelves etc. Bali, most people think, is full of tourists but it’s actually just a couple of pockets of Bali. Most of Bali is still the ‘real’ Indonesia, and the Government doesn’t have the funds to pay for libraries. So we helped out.

Watch the video HERE:

Staff rooms and toilets, Illkurei community, Tanzania

$10,000. Back again to ‘our’ school! GLT. We’re back! Haley, the owner of the Girls LOVE Travel community on FaceBook, wanted to give something back to travel. And she had seen some of the work we had been doing recently. And with that, a beautiful partnership began. We headed right back to our lovely school in Arusha, Tanzania.

Running water, and 2 new classrooms, Illkurei community, Tanzania

$10,000. And another awesome new build at our school in Tanzania, again with GLT!

Running water, and 2 new classrooms, Illkurei community, Tanzania

$10,000. A Canadian home alarm company asked us to help them give back. Once again, we headed back to Tanzania with 2 new classrooms!

Malaria clinic and kindergarten, Burmese refugee community, Thailand

$40,000. A UK based property company reached out to us with our biggest budget yet. Almost $40,000. With such a large budget, we stuck to where we know. Thailand and our relationship with the Burmese refugee community.

A malaria clinic and a whole new school were born. Thanks guys!

6 Homes for a homeless community, Battambang, Cambodia

$10,000. I used to live in Australia, and one my best mates there is now CEO of a company I used to work for. He asked could we help them with a charity project. Fast forward 6 months and we built 6 homes for a homeless community in Battambang, Cambodia.

Watch the video HERE:

Dormitory for Burmese migrant community, Mae Sot, Thailand

$15,000. Liquid learning, the Australian company, were now on board! So we went back to the Burmese community and built a dorm for the kids that were living in shacks previously.

English classroom, Madaba christian community, Jordan

$12,000. A christian community, often ignored by the local council, asked us to fund and help build an English classroom for their community. So we did 🙂

Watch the video HERE:

Orphanage refurbishment, Uganda

$10,000. We supplied a waterwell, water pump and furbed the orphanage classroom, library and toilets in our partner orphanage in Uganda.

Mount Fuji Sponsored Climb for Parkinson’s. Japan.

$22,000. Since my mum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease back in 2012, I’ve wanted to support her as best I could. I’ve taken her backpacking to 50+ countries, which has kept her zest for life very much alive! But we also felt we should use our travels for something more lasting, so we started doing fundraisers every 2 years to help find a cure for Parkinson’s.

Where basically I create a stupid physical challenge, she reluctantly accepts, then she complains to me for months leading up to it, then thanks me once it’s over. This was the first one. Climbing mount fuji, for my mum’s 70th (she made it!). We raised over $20k.

I blogger our experience here.

Maura Ward Climbing Mount Fuji
Maura Ward Climbing Mount Fuji
Maura Ward Climbing Mount Fuji
Our lovely Climbing Mount Fuji group

Serengeti Charity Marathon for Parkinson’s. Tanzania.

$22,000. Round 2 of my mum moaning at me for years. This time doing a 10km race as part of the Serengeti Marathon in Tanzania. And another $22k raised to fund a cure for Parkinson’s.

I blogged about the experience here.

Serengeti marathon
The finish line!
Serengeti Marathon
Part of our Serengeti Marathon crew

200km ultra-marathon from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Thailand

$5,000 for 6000 meals donated to Klong Toey slum during COVID. I was stuck in Thailand during Covid. And I felt a bit lost. No travel. No charity projects. I cycled 2000km across Thailand and felt so guilt that I didn’t raise money as part of the expedition. So we put it right by running from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, 200km, straight shot. It was awful! But we did it.

2020 year review
We did it, 200km later in Chiang Rai!

5000km Row across the Atlantic, Canary islands to Antigua

$20,000 for Men’s Mental health and an animal sanctuary. Well, yeah. I rowed across the Atlantic. And it was hell! From the Canary Islands, in Spain – all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, to Antigua in the Caribbean. Took about 2 months. In a tiny row boat. Completely unsupported. But we did raise $20k. $10k for men’s mental health. $10K for an animal sanctuary.

Rowing the Atlantic Ocean
Rowing the Atlantic Ocean, 100% unsupported.
Rowing the Atlantic
Rowing the Atlantic

Our total donations to date: $300,700USD


Petra 100km charity cycle for Parkinson’s. Jordan.

$10,000. We have raised $10k yet, but WE WILL! We are half way there, please donate HERE IF YOU CAN:

We’ll be cycling 100km from Petra to Wadi Rum in Jordan in October. My mum is now 74, and the Parkinson’s stuff is proving a bit of a struggle. But she’s in the gym every day, and I know we can do it.

My mum testing our tandem for the 100km cycle

Afghanistan charity ski trip, 2024.

$4000. We have already committed our funds to donating food stuffs to a community in Bamiyan. Afghanistan, bringing our total donations over $300,000. You can come and join me in Afghanistan, we’re even going to do some SKIIING there (seriously!).

I blogged about my upcoming Afghanistan tour here.

Pakistan charity trip, 2024.

This one has been in the works since 2020! Covid put an end to that. But we’re back, and launching in September for June 2024. We’ll be meeting in Islamabad or Lahore. Doing a charity project in Sialkot. Then traveling through Kashmir, and crossing the Khyber pass into China. EPIC! It’s going to sell out the day we launch, if you want to reserve a spot message me on I honestly believe it’s the coolest tour on the market today. Don’t miss it!

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward