Passports With Purpose 2009 Breaks My Silence
Between moving out of Sarasota and traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, I have been somewhat silent for the past two weeks. But things are settling down now and I can’t think of a better reason to get back into the swing than to tell you about a wonderful charity effort being mounted by my fellow travel writers through Passports With Purpose.
This year, the Passports with Purpose fund raising effort is supporting American Assistance for Cambodia (AAfC), an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving opportunities for the youth and rural poor in Cambodia, with a goal of raising $13,000 to build a school. In order to achieve this goal, travel bloggers have either personally donated prizes or arranged for companies to donate prizes. These items are then raffled off online, with each $10 donation entering the donor into a drawing for the prize of his or her choice.
I know first hand how much this is needed in Cambodia. When I visited the country in 2007, I was particularly struck by droves of children who roamed the streets, carrying baskets heaped with hand-made jewelry or toting hand-woven mats twice their size. Without exception, they interspersed pesky sales pitches and arm tugs with the few words of English they knew:
“Hello, where you from?”
“Oh, U.S.A., A-Number one. President George Bush; capitol Washington, D.C.”
These children, some of them barely old enough to be left alone, much less on the streets all day selling merchandise, seemed desperate to learn. I can think of no better way to celebrate the holidays than to help build a school for these lovely children.
If you wish to join me in supporting this worthy cause, check out the list of prizes being offered at Passports With Purpose. Select the drawings you’d like to enter and indicate how many $10 donations you want to make for each prize. For example, I entered “3” in the box to the right of the $100 Amazon.com gift card donated by Shannon Hurst-Lane and “2” for the Flip Ultra Video Camcorder (value $135) donated by Heather Cowper, both fellow travel bloggers and friends. My five entries, totaling $50, were charged to my credit card via PayPal. Simple as that!
The selection of prizes to bid on is nothing short of amazing. How about a $1,500 two-night stay in a suite at NYC’s Roosevelt Hotel or five nights at Los Suenos Resort in Costa Rica (value $2,746)? Other prizes include books, shoes, backpacks, strollers, sunglasses, and even a Ukulele! Any of these could be yours for a $10 donation. The fundraiser closes on December 21 and all proceeds go directly to AAfC, so check it out soon.