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Meet Sucheta Rawal of Go Eat Give in Smyrna

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sucheta Rawal.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sucheta. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have been a food and travel writer for about 10 years. I started Go Eat Give as a blog to share my journeys of volunteering and traveling around the world, and to encourage other travelers to learn about different cultures as well. Over the years, with the support of my readers, Go Eat Give grew to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that hosts destination dinners, speaker series, and cultural travel exchange programs. We partner with grassroots nonprofits around the world and support them throughout the year by raising awareness, fundraising and providing donations and volunteers. These include women’s shelter in India, kids in villages in Bali and cooperative farm in Cuba.

Locally, we work towards connecting people over food, arts, and current affairs, by organizing events that highlight a particular community or culture. We have organized over 50 years so far on important topics such as the conflict in the Middle East, the role of women in Islam, doing business in Nigeria, the spread of Ebola in West Africa, to Rio’s preparation for 2016 Olympics. The mission of Go Eat Give is to increase awareness, dialogue and create healthy relationships among people from different nationalities, religions, cultures, etc., so there is a sense of acceptance and humanity.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting or running a nonprofit organization is never a smooth ride. You are constantly having to deal with funders, board members, and volunteers while doing day to day activities that fulfill your mission. While many people find what we do very exciting, very few have the resources to back it up, whether financially or with manpower. Also, people have this notion that nonprofits should not charge for their services and that the people who work at nonprofit organizations should not be paid. Therefore, it is difficult to educate public that what we do is important, it needs financial support, and that we do impact lives.

For 5 years, we hosted events every 2-4 weeks and finally ran out of ethnic restaurants and sponsors, while attendance skyrocketed! It was easy to do an event when only 25 people showed up, but our last event “Destination Puerto Rico” had 170 people and more on the waiting list. Now, we have to pick and choose when and where to do events, which can also be seen from outside that we are not doing as much.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Go Eat Give story. Tell us more about the business.
Go Eat Give is a unique nonprofit organization that focuses more on experiential giving. Our participants go on volunteer, culinary and cultural journeys to India, Cuba, Indonesia, etc. where they are not treated like tourists. Instead, they dine at people’s homes, volunteer in the community, get cultural lessons, and visit attractions that are often not listed in guidebooks. When these travelers return from their trips, they have a different perspective on the people and culture from someone who just stayed at a hotel and visited tourist attractions. They are better able to understand the true way of living in that country and many of them make changes in their own lives. Some of our travelers mention getting more involved in their local communities, carrying donations for places they go on vacations, appreciating what they have more in their lives, and wanting to consume less.

What sets us apart from other companies is that we provide a study abroad program for adults who want to have a fun vacation too. We are not offering mission trips or Peace Corps style extended stay programs. Ours are 1-2 weeks long journeys, where groups of 8-12 people stay in nice hotels, eat at handpicked local restaurants, visit attractions, have an English speaking tour guide, as well as a country expert traveling with them from the US. No other company offers such a personal and comprehensive travel program.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe we create our own luck by our karma or positive actions. I have been involved in my community ever since I was a child and through college, by volunteering at local organizations, taking leadership roles, and helping those in need. As I developed by business, I saw friends and family come forth to offer me a helping hand, a contact, or resource to drive my mission forward.

Pricing:

  • Travel Abroad Opportunities start at $2500 per person for 1 week
  • Destination Dinner tickets are $45-55 per person including dinner, speaker & entertainment
  • Speaker Series tickets are $10-15 per person including lunch

Contact Info:

10448478_888262754588748_7485404905656274154_o 11222267_856879661060391_8190945058258241185_o 12030364_888266551255035_6374799472905487812_o 12034484_877666432315047_7577943218991848177_o Diwali_Mela_at_Chai_Pani_Restaurant__Decatur__photo_by_Nancy_Butler_ IMG_9643 teaching_English_to_businessmen___women_in_Segovia__Spain volunteering_at_Bali_Childrens_Project

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