Passports With Purpose 2011 - Room To Read

Help Passports with Purpose 2011 Build Libraries in Zambia That Will Teach Kids to Read

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Passports with Purpose

When I look back on the years when I was immersed in the culture of corporate America, my biggest regret is that I didn’t do more to help others. Though I earned a healthy income, I am ashamed to say that I never volunteered and rarely gave to charity. Strangely, now that I am a struggling travel writer with barely enough income to keep me on the road, charity and volunteer work have become a much more important part of my life. More often than not, my philanthropic efforts occur when I am in Nepal, since that is the country where I spend the most time each year. After months there last year, I discovered that many of the orphanages and programs that place volunteers into the schools were totally corrupt; in many cases not a penny of the money donated actually reached the children who need it the most. I learned that the most important part of giving is choosing a worthy organization and began writing a series of articles about agencies that provide voluntour opportunities or raise money for charitable organizations, both the good ones and the corrupt ones.

Help PwP build libraries in Zambia

Help PwP build libraries in Zambia

One of the programs that I have been most impressed with is Passports with Purpose, the joint effort of travel bloggers who raise funds once each year around the holidays. In 2009, we raised almost $30,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia and last year we raised over $58,000 to build a village in India for “untouchables” who might otherwise never have a place to call home. This year our goal is even bigger and I am even more excited by it. We hope to raise $80,000 for Room to Read, an agency that builds schools, bilingual libraries and provides scholarships around the world. Communities receiving schools or libraries must pay for a portion of the materials or provide “sweat” equity to build facilities. Why am I so excited this year? Because I have personally witnessed the effects of Room to Read. During a home stay in the high mountain village of Puma, Nepal, I toured schools that had been the beneficiary of a Room to Read library and spoke to kids who were learning to read in Nepali, Gurung, and English as a result of the reading material supplied. I believe that education is the single most important thing we can provide our children, and that education creates the best and longest lasting benefit to our world.

A library in Puma, Nepal, built with the assistance of Room to Read

A library in Puma, Nepal, built with the assistance of Room to Read

Plaque in Nepal school broadcasts the efforts of Room to Read

Plaque in Nepal school broadcasts the efforts of Room to Read

So lets get down to the nitty-gritty. Am I asking for a donation? Well, yes, in a way. But there’s a twist in this campaign. Travel bloggers around the world have solicited prizes and gift certificates from travel related companies around the world, which are being offered as prizes in this year’s effort. The impressive list of prizes can be found here. Donors choose which prize or prizes they want to have a chance to win by placing a number in the box aside their preferred prize. So for example if you want to register to win the 5 Night Stay in Budapest, putting “1” in the box will buy you one chance and cost you $10. Putting “5” in the box will buy you five chances and cost you $50. You can also type “1” in five different boxes for one chance each to win five different prizes. Your total donation is tallied at the bottom of the prize list, giving you an opportunity to make modifications before proceeding to the payment page. At the end of the campaign, one winner will be randomly drawn for each prize from the total number of entries for that particular prize. The prizes add a little fun to the process, but even if your name isn’t drawn you can be sure that all donations are benefiting an excellent cause.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting Passports with Purpose this holiday season. Wishing you and yours, and all less fortunate people everywhere, a holiday season that is just a little bit more merry than usual.

Series NavigationHelp Passports with Purpose 2010 Build a Village in IndiaPassports with Purpose 2012 Fundraiser – Win Great Prizes and Help Build Wells in Haiti

13 Comments on “Help Passports with Purpose 2011 Build Libraries in Zambia That Will Teach Kids to Read

  1. Pingback: Mothers Day: Travel Bloggers Give Back

  2. Nice post. I really happy to read this post. I can completely connect with your ideas on take a trip impressive a more philanthropic self. I too discover myself much more engaged and conscious publish trips, even though I’ve eventually forgotten the balance of my business way of life. Travel certainly started out my community and it’s very impressive to see what Given with Objective is doing.

  3. Pingback: Travel Bloggers Give Back: Collective Drops in the Bucket Builds Wells – charity: water | Editorial Creatives

  4. It’s great to hear that you witnessed first hand the difference that books and education can make in places like Nepal and Zambia – I’m off to check out which of the prizes I want to bid for

  5. Yeah for Puma and Yeah for PWP!!!  I love seeing the Puma Library in your post – it just makes me so happy that you went there.  I heard from Giri recently – Ama and Didi are doing well.  When are you heading back to Pokhara?

    • Hi Sherry: Headed back in February,probably around the middle of the month and will stay until at least the end of April. Chomping at the bit. South America is interesting, but it’s not Nepal.

  6. Really enjoyed this post. I can totally relate to your thoughts on travel inspiring a more philanthropic self. I too find myself much more involved and aware post travels, even though I’ve left behind the stability of my corporate lifestyle. Travel certainly opened my world and it’s very inspiring to see what Passports with Purpose is doing. Spent a month volunteering at an orphanage in Zambia so feel extra connected to this cause. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great post, Barbara! Thanks for sharing it with us on the TBGB page. RTing and Stumbling now.

  8. Sounds like a great organization, Barbara! Thanks for the details. I’ll make sure to give a few $. Keep spreading the word and inspiring others!

    • Thank you so much, Mike! Every penny counts and I (and Passports with Purpose) appreciate your help.

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