In last year's Passports with Purpose fundraising drive, I bid $10 on a trip and another $10 on a stroller. I won neither, but for a mere $20 I helped build a school in Cambodia currently serving about 400 kids, with books, teachers, a school nurse, a food garden and a drinking water well (check out some photos of the school here). Best $20 I ever spent. This year I'll be bidding on a few prizes again and I'm putting up a prize of my own as well, the aforementioned iPad (see details below).
So who are these Passports with Purpose folks and how does it all work? PwP was started in 2008 by four travel bloggers (Debbie Dubrow, Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy) as a way to build community among travel bloggers and to give back to the places we, as travelers, visit.
The concept has proven wonderful in its simplicity and effectiveness: travel bloggers procure prizes for people to bid on, they spread the word through their social networks, people bid on prizes at $10 per bid (tax deductible), and the money goes straight to the charity of the year. Last year, over $30,000 was raised through PwP and some school kids are enjoying the results right now.
This year, PwP is supporting LAFTI, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the Dalit (untouchable) population in India. The fundraising goal this year is even higher: $50,000, money that will go toward building a village in India, providing homes to people who have never had a roof over their heads. See more details about the project on the Passports with Purpose website.
I know some of the PwP founders personally and can vouch for them being sincere, passionate, cupcake-loving and all-around excellent people. They also write some fantastic blogs that you should check out. Don't just take it from me, check out the PwP website and the sites of the dozens of travel bloggers involved this year and in previous years.
If you have an iPad already, or simply don't want one, there are dozens of other great items to bid on and support Passports with Purpose.
A shiny new Apple iPad 16 GB Wi-Fi + 3G
About the prize, plus BONUS prizes*:
This lovely iPad comes all the way from Australia, where they not only have large bouncy marsupials, but nifty tablet computers made by Apple as well. I won this iPad recently in a staff writing contest at Lonely Planet, and, while I love how pretty and fun it is, and identify with the early adopter crowd, I know for a fact that it could be doing more good raising money for charity than it ever could do in my hands.
Because the Australian version did not include the free Winnie the Pooh ebook that seems to come with US models – an exclusion that is morally wrong – I have added this in order to not deprive the winner of great literature involving heffalumps. I have removed the mp3 of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" that comes standard on all Australian electronic devices.** Being an Australian model, it came with a plug that only works in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tokelau. Whoever wins, I'll throw in a power adapter for your country (if they happen to be from Tokelau, so much the better).
Sound good? If so, click here to bid on the iPad and any other PwP prize!
You can bid more than once, and bid on as many items as you like. It all goes to support this year's charity, and every bid makes it more likely that you'll win a prize!
Thanks to this year's generous sponsors of PwP: BootsnAll, LiveMocha, Round the World with Us, HomeAway, Traveller’s Point, Hostelling International, Quintess, Raveable, TravelPost, and Uptake. Thanks as well to Lonely Planet for quite unintentionally providing the prize that I'm putting up this year.
* Bonus prizes include a Winnie the Pooh ebook and a regional power adapter.
**This might be a rumor.
Pooh has volunteered to eat an entire jar of honey for every $10 donated to PwP