Passports with Purpose 2011: Help Build Libraries in Zambia

Categories Great Causes

 Passports with Purpose 2011 kicks off today and after the success of last year’s campaign to build a village in India’s Tamil Nadu and 2009’s school in rural Cambodia, they are partnering with Room to Read to build libraries in Zambia – $80,000 worth.

Long-term readers of Legal Nomads will know that I have long supported Room to Read. Back in 2009, I posted about Room to Read and how profits of the Breadpig-published xkcd book were going toward building schools in Laos. So when Passports with Purpose emailed to say that this year’s campaign would benefit R2R, I was very excited to secure a prize and get started.

So what is Passports with Purpose?

Passports with Purpose (or PwP as the hashtag will be known in the coming weeks) is an annual travel bloggers’ fundraiser founded in 2008 to give back to the places we, as travelers, visit. Cobbling together a wide variety of travel bloggers from around the world, the campaign has been growing with each year, gaining momentum (and much appreciated press) in its aim to dedicate social media and blogging clout toward a bigger-picture cause.  In 2009, ninety bloggers participated and raised almost $30,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia (complete with a school nurse and a kitchen garden that provides each child a daily meal). Last year’s fundraiser with LAFTI included one-hundred and ninety-nine bloggers and raised over $58,000, and the Tamil Nadu village is well on its way to completion.

During the fundraiser, individual travel bloggers procure a prize that will be given away in a random draw at the end of the campaign. These prizes do not require a donation, but one is definitely appreciated to help the fundraising cause. After the campaign ends, a winner is randomly selected for each prize. The full list of winners will be posted on the PwP main site. In addition, several sponsors have donated over $5,000 thus far toward the 2011 campaign.

Passports With Purpose for 2011

This year’s Passports with Purpose beneficiary is Room to Read, started by former Microsoft executive John Wood. Room to Read is now building schools, bilingual libraries and providing scholarships around the world, and their innovative approach to fund-raising and development (local R2R chapters in Europe, North America and Australia (among other countries) raise a considerable amount of the funds; communities receiving schools or libraries must co-invest portions of the materials or labour in order to ensure a vested interest in the project) has translated into a growing, scalable enterprise with an emphasis on literacy and general education.

Per founder John Wood:

“Room to Read was founded because of my experience being introduced to a ‘library without books’ in a rural village in Nepal.  The headmaster’s simple request to someday come back with books sparked my desire to help him to bring the lifelong gift of education to his students. We have now opened over 11,000 libraries, but need tens of thousands more.  So we are very excited to be a part of Passports with Purpose because it allows travelers to share their passion, while also providing children with quality education to shape their futures,” said John Wood, Room to Read founder and board co-chair. “This innovative fundraiser combines travel, social media and philanthropy and will benefit communities in Zambia for years to come.”

Passports with Purpose 2011 - Zambia

The groundwork to building the liberaries has already begun in Zambia and they are scheduled for completion in mid-2012. Passports with Purpose funds will be allocated to construction of the buildings themselves, the resources (books, educational materials, teacher training) and three years of support following completion. After those three years, the liberaries will be handed over to the Zambian government and the local school system.

The Legal Nomads prize for Passports with Purpose 2011

I recently announced my participation in the G Adventures Wanderers in Residence programme, whereby I jump on G Adventures tours a few times per year and blog about it on their WiR community site.  As part of the programme, the Wanderers were offered a G Adventures tour to give away to readers. Instead of a contest, however, I wanted to offer this trip as my prize for Passports with Purpose 2011.

G Adventures just started offering North America trips this year (I know, I know, they’re a Canadian company – but they focused on getting people to visit outside the country first!), so I’ve chosen the Jasper/Banff trip, departing and returning to Calgary for eight days in the Canadian wilderness.

Jasper and Banff G Adventures Trip

A view I could get used to....

What’s Included:

-       Entrance fees to all National Parks with walking and hiking excursions.

-       Hot Springs at Miette Hot Springs in Jasper NP.

-       Wildlife viewing in Jasper and Banff NP.

-       Gondola to Sulphur Mountain.

-       6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners (Allow USD 25-50 for meals not included.)

-       Centrally located hotels (1 nt), participation camping (6 nts)

-       Air-conditioned private touring van, hiking, gondola.

Not included:

-       Meals not covered by the itinerary

-       Flights too/from Calgary and transfer to hotel.

Full itinerary for the trip is here.

To participate in Passports with Purpose 2011, please head on over to the Donate Landing Page for the main PwP site. The fundraiser runs from today through December 16, 2011. You can check progress of the fundraiser on the widget below – it will update with funds raised every day.

-Jodi

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