As a travel writer, I’m lucky and grateful to have enriching experiences year round. I’m always in awe of the people and cultures and traditions and hospitality I’m shown the world over.
But this time of year, the few weeks following the Thanksgiving holiday, is when I’m most psyched about and proud of my profession, thanks to Passports with Purpose.
This annual online fundraiser is where travel bloggers from all over the world come together to help give back to individuals in need around this great planet that we’re so honored to explore. In the past, the group has supported Heifer International and raised enough funds to build a school in Cambodia—one of the most amazing and heartbreaking places I’ve ever traveled—and a village in India.
The fourth annual Passports with Purpose kicked off today, and this year’s goal is to raise $80,000 to build two libraries in Zambia through the nonprofit Room to Read, which builds libraries and is focused on literacy and gender equality in education.
It’s an amazing organization that I first supported more than five years ago when I first read about it and learned that it had been founded by a fellow traveler, John Wood, a former Microsoft manager, after he had trekked through Nepal (about the same time that I was on my epic three-week Annapurna jaunt) and decided to use his tech-earned money to build libraries and supply books to the children in those remote villages.
I’m supporting Room to Read again today, through Passports with Purpose, with a $100 Apple Gift Card, which joins the dozens of other great prizes available in this year’s fundraiser, and I encourage you help support this mission as well. I’m also giving at least another $100, as I do each year, and you can help too, with as little as a $10 donation.
Here’s how it works:
For each $10 tax-deductible donation on the Passports with Purpose site, a person can enter to win a prize of their choice. Donations for multiple prizes and multiple $10 increments are acceptable, or you choose to donate directly without entering for a prize. Bidding ends on Dec. 16, 2011, with a winner for each prize randomly selected on Dec. 23. All proceeds go directly to Room to Read.
You can put a bid in on the Apple Gift Card and help defray the cost of that new computer or iPhone or iPad you’ve been hankering to purchase. I’ll mail the card within seven days after the winner is announced, and even though I will send it anywhere in the world, please note that the card can be redeemed only at an Apple Retail Store, the Apple Online Store or Apple Telesales (800-MY-APPLE) in the United States. The card cannot be used at the iTunes Store.
Prefer another gift? More than 100 travel bloggers from around the world are participating with donated prizes such as hotel stays, tours, travel gear, services, electronics and gift cards, each valued between $100 and $5,000. You could be the winner of that $100 Apple Gift Card, or you could win a three-night stay at the Marquis Los Cabos, a 15-day first-class adult Eurail pass, a Kindle Fire or more.
All you have to do is give. And it is the giving season, after all.
Before I sign off, I just want to extend a BIG thank-you to the Passports with Purpose founders Debbie Dubrow, Michelle Duffy, Pam Mandel, and Beth Whitman, the bloggers behind Delicious Baby, WanderMom, Nerd’s Eye View, and Wanderlust and Lipstick, respectively. What started as a simple quest to do a little good has turned into a growing and great holiday tradition.
Shout-outs too go to this year’s sponsors: Round the World with Us (platinum level), a family of travelers committed to raising awareness of global issues and helping people better understand other cultures; Travellerspoint (silver level), a large travel community that claims to have members representing every country in the world; and HomeAway (bronze level), the large online marketplace for vacation rentals.
So what are you waiting for? Get over to www.passportswithpurpose.org and help build those libraries!