Schools and literacy in Mali: Passports with Purpose 2013

buildOn school in Mali (courtesy buildOn on Flickr CC)

Students at a buildOn school in Mali (courtesy buildOn on Flickr CC)

There are SO many worthy causes out there, and this is the time of year when many of them really crank up their marketing to take advantage of people’s holiday spirit. Who can blame them, really?

If you’re going to donate money, though, it may as well go to organizations that can make the most significant, long-term impact, and it’s even better if you can see where your cash is going and whether it is making a difference.

That’s why the Perceptive Travel Blog supports Passports with Purpose, the annual travel blogging community fundraiser.

What is Passports with Purpose?

Here’s the genius idea behind #PwP: each participating blog hosts a travel-related prize, and they’re also all listed in a big prize catalog on the Passports with Purpose website. People can bid – in US$10 increments – for a chance to win the prize or prizes of their choice.

Passports with Purpose

So, yes, you can bid a mere US$10 and end up winning a holiday at a swank resort, cool travel gear, gift cards, personalized tours and other goodies.

But here’s the unique part….all of the money goes to one charity, selected for just that year, and it’s the sort of charity that builds a physical THING that you can watch being built and learn later what it meant for the community. Passports with Purpose prize bids have built a village in India, water wells in Haiti, schools in Cambodia and libraries in Zimbabwe.

Where Did My Money Go From Last Year?

Did you participate last year to build 5 water wells in Haiti and win a chance for a getaway to pretty Granbury, Texas near Dallas/Fort Worth? (Thank you!)

Here is where your money went and the difference it made, courtesy Platinum Sponsor Expedia (direct link to the video on YouTube if you can’t see the embed box below)

One US$10 donation at a time made something extraordinary happen, and we’re about to do it again.

In 2013, We’re Building Schools & Literacy in Mali

This year, Passports with Purpose and the travel blogging community is working with to raise $115,000 to construct three schools and fund three adult literacy programs in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, Africa.

More about why we’re partnering with buildOn in 2013:

“buildOn constructs schools in Mali, Malawi, Senegal, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Nepal where school construction and educating children are vital components to long-term economic growth and sustainability….Strong outcomes can be achieved by educating adults as well. Research shows that women’s education is responsible for half of the decline in the child mortality rate in sub-Saharan African over the last 40 years….

The 5th poorest country in the world according to the UN’s Human Development Index, Mali also suffers from one of the globe’s lowest literacy rates at 31.1% and only 20.3% for females. buildOn constructs schools in Sikasso, the southernmost region of Mali, 200 miles south of the capital Bamako. To date, buildOn has completed nearly 200 schools in the region. More than 24,000 children attend buildOn schools in Mali on an annual basis. Villagers in Mali have contributed 513,000 volunteer work days helping to build their schools.”

So, you’ll be able to see your prize bid money go directly to buildOn and you’ll be able to see the schools that your money builds.

Our 2013 Prize Sends You to Space Camp or Aviation Challenge!

We are pretty buzzed this year to host a fabulous travel prize generously donated by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama – a Family Camp weekend program for 2!

On a mission at Family Camp (courtesy U.S. Space and Rocket Center Huntsville AL)

On a mission at Family Camp (courtesy U.S. Space and Rocket Center Huntsville AL)

Details…. At the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, parents can enjoy the experience of a lifetime together at Family Camp with their children ages 7-17 at Space Camp or Aviation Challenge Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

Family Space Camp® encompasses simulated mission training and operations, rocket construction and on-site space history in one of the world’s largest spacecraft collections. All trainees experience astronaut simulators such as the 1/6th Gravity Chair and the Manned Maneuvering Unit.

Family Aviation Challenge® camp is geared toward fighter pilot training, with intense survival skills and flight simulators. Trainees will work together to conquer take-off and landing skills in fighter jet simulations and experience a water landing in the Helo-Dunker at the Camp’s man-made lake.

Meals and lodging are included in all family camp programs. Lodging is on-site in the Habitat facilities, and meals are on-site in the Space Camp Crew Galley. Learn more at

A few caveats and restrictions for this prize….

**  Reservations must be booked by August 31, 2014
**  Reservations will be based on program availability
**  Prize does not include travel expenses to and from Huntsville, Alabama
**  Additional people may be added to the reservation at the standard program rate
**  Certificate will be mailed to recipient via the Perceptive Travel Blog, and will include redemption instructions

Sound good?

I’ve been to Huntsville and it is a very cool city, even without a giant Saturn rocket next to the highway and the whole Space Camp experience (for which you’re never too old.)

Go here and select the U.S. Space & Rocket Center prize from the PwP list!

Not Into Space? More Prizes Here (but yo, SPACE!)

Not feeling space-y?

Here is the whole amazing catalog of PwP travel prizes.

Deadline to make your bid is December 9, 11:59PM (EST)  Note: Passports with Purpose will still take donations, but no more drawing entries for the Family Camp weekend or any of the other prizes after the end of the day December 9.

Huge thanks to these generous Passports with Purpose sponsors:  Expedia (platinum sponsor);  DK Eyewitness Travel—DK Eyewitness Guides and Rough Guides (gold); TBEX (silver sponsor); HomeAwayHostelBookersGo With Oh and Eating London (bronze sponsors.)

See you in the Rocket City, and thanks so much for supporting Passports with Purpose 2013.

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