Let’s say there are 10 million tourist visits to Africa each year (ball-park). Now if a few million tourists added a couple of exercise books and a pen or two in that bit of space left in their suitcase, what could that do to the shortage in schools? Now say a few million added a mosquito net? What would that do, feasibly, to the lives lost to malaria?
But it’s not that easy. How do you really know what the locals need in the places you will visit? Who do you give your meagre supplies to? It just wouldn’t work, your offering alone won’t make a difference, it’s too simplistic.
But it does work, because Pack for a Purpose joins up all the dots and makes it work.
Pack for a Purpose is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization committed to helping travelers help local communities. By informing travelers of the current needs of community projects in the places they visit, Pack for a Purpose encourages vacationers, honeymooners, and business professionals journeying abroad to use a small amount of space in their luggage to carry needed supplies to local projects. The specific needs are listed and updated regularly on their website: http://www.packforapurpose.org/.
What kind of things could you bring and how much might it cost? Rebecca Rothney of Pack for a Purpose fills us in:
‘Five pounds equals 400 pencils or five deflated soccer balls and an inflation device which a traveler can pack for a school or an orphanage. Five pounds can also equal a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and 500 band-aids for a clinic.
With that one stethoscope, a traveler can touch 10,000 hearts.
The beauty of this idea is its simplicity. Luggage space used for bringing supplies on the way to the destination can be utilized for souvenirs on the way home. This opportunity gives travelers an easy way to make a big impact in the communities they visit. As we all become more connected on a global scale, it becomes more meaningful to choose how we will do so. Next time you are planning a trip, choose to “pack for a purpose.”’