Lorrraine Keenan

Lorraine Keenan, is a very proud inhabitant of Johannesburg (Joburg), and has been a serial entrepreneur for over 35 years. She is driven by her passion and commitment to the development and upliftment of impoverished communities in South Africa. Her work is supported by her extensive experience in philanthropic endeavors as well as in sustainable development in Gauteng. Most recently “Mother Goose” Lorraine, as a Gauteng destination expert, founded the Hero Holidays Volunteer Program.
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What is your favorite travel memory?

My vision of Hero Holidays, stems from a personal life experience. Some years back, while on a camping trip in Malawi, I discovered hordes of young and very enthusiastic people from all walks of life. They were all volunteering and having a great time vacationing at the same time.

Sitting on a deck overlooking the great Lake of Malawi, I listened to the chatter among the volunteers as they shared their wonderful work and travel experiences. Suddenly I had an epiphany: to create a volunteer tourism organization that could service all of my philanthropic endeavors.

And in line with my passion, this would put my extensive knowledge of Gauteng - and its socioeconomic and development needs - to good use. This was truly the moment when Hero Holidays’ Volunteer Program was born

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

To see the image of volunteer travel shift away from people jumping off a plane saying "I'm here to help you!" to saying "I'm here to learn from you, how I can be of help, now, or in the future."

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I sincerely believe it is here in the ‘golden province’, Gauteng, South Africa where Hero Holidays volunteers will gain a true African experience while at the same time enhancing life for disadvantaged communities.

Hero Holidays’ Volunteer Programs address some community challenges, by providing a small but positive contribution to much greater issues.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Hero Holidays’ Volunteer Programs is a registered social enterprise and has empowered itself by believing that, NGOs and other development projects can no longer survive on donations alone.

Managing a sustainable and profitable business, first and foremost, is about attracting the right people to volunteer for the job; people who are willing to swop the necessary skills in order to fulfill the needs. This way, a win-win situation is created, both for the volunteer as well as the project beneficiary.