Monday, November 15, 2010

Passports with a Purpose: How you can help build a village in India

A few months back, I heard about a really amazing campaign among a group of travel bloggers called Passports with a Purpose. Last year, this group raised an astonishing $30,000, which was used to build a school in rural Cambodia. You can read about the school here.

This year, the goal is even loftier: $50,000 to build a village in India. My husband traveled to India a couple of years ago. He loved every minute he spent there (especially the food!) but was astonished at the poverty he witnessed (and he was being shuttled from major city to major city, so I doubt he saw the worst of it.)

How does a group of travel bloggers raise that kind of money? It's pretty genius, actually. Many of the bloggers procure a prize from a generous sponsor. Then they encourage their readers to donate to the cause. For each $10 donated, you can register to win a particular price.

I don't have an amazing prize to offer. But I am including Passports with a Purpose in my holiday giving plans, and I hope you'll consider doing the same. While I'd love to win a prize (you can see a list here), my motivation and heart lies with a group of Dalits (India's untouchables) who desperately need housing, training and agricultural assistance. All money donated goes directly to Friends of LAFTI Foundation, an NGO that specializes in assisting impoverished Indian villages.

It's none of my business what your world view is, how you choose to spend your hard-earned money, and who you choose to help. But me? I firmly believe that never in history has our world been more interconnected. To some, that's scary. Instead, I think it means the horizon never really ends, and that we're all neighbors on this great big planet. It's why I travel, it's why I want my son to grow up traveling. So what's the use in building one village in a country where thousands, if not millions, of others need help? Well, to those people, my neighbors, it's everything.

Now you know what the PwP button on the left is all about. I hope you'll give it a click. Over the next few weeks, mostly on Tuesdays, I'll be profiling some of the other participants and their prizes.

Today I'm linking up with Best Family Travel Advice. From here, you can see a few of the posts people are writing today in recognition of Passports with a Purpose's launch.