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Packing for a Purpose: Helping Change the World – 1 Bag at a Time

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Pack For A Purpose
At my college, students are not just encouraged but required to hold at least one internship their junior or senior year. What you do is up to you as long as it captures your personal interests and takes advantage of your skills.

Which is why I feel extremely lucky: I get to intern with a program that involves international affairs and does a great deal of good for the world by taking advantage of the extra space in a traveler’s suitcase to send much needed  school supplies to children in need. The organization, the non-profit Pack for a Purpose, is helping to spread the word about responsible tourism and how small things can make a big difference in the developing world.

Created in December of 2009 by Rebecca and Scott Rothney, Pack for a Purpose provides travelers with information on how they can use a small amount of space in their luggage to carry a wide variety of items to community-based projects in over 100 destinations around the world.

Here’s how it works: Travelers log on to PackforaPurpose.org and select a destination to see what programs and drop-off points are nearby. The website even includes lists of needed items so that you know just what to bring.

Rothney thought of the idea for the organization after she and her husband made their first trip to Africa.

“On our first trip, Scott and I learned that while we were limited to 40 pounds of luggage on safari, the airline itself had an allowance of 140 pounds for luggage,” Rothney says. “So, for our second trip, we looked into visiting a school near the lodge we would visit in Botswana and contacted our safari company, Wilderness Safaris, to see if there were things the school needed that we might be able to provide.” Armed with that information, the couple was able to deliver 140 pounds of classroom supplies to the school. “It was enormously rewarding,” says Rothney, “to be able to help the people in the community that had given us such a life-enriching experience. “

While the idea of packing with others in mind is great, it’s something most people don’t think of until it’s too late.

“I asked our travel agent why other travelers didn’t use their luggage allowances in this way.” Rothney explains. His answer was ‘Because nobody thinks about it.’ That was our aha moment.”

Learn more about Pack for a Purpose by heading to the website or visiting the site’s Facebook and Twitter pages.  Then you, too, will be ready to help change the world – one bag at a time!

By Guest Blogger Brittany Goodman I PEACE COLLEGE: Creative. Well-connected. Has interned with non-profits in Germany, England, and South Korea. Believes in social media as a form of communication that’s every bit as important and meaningful as any other channel (we agree!).    

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