Travel bloggers with Purpose building a village in India

Four travel bloggers, who founded Passports with Purpose, worked with other travel bloggers and raised $30,000 last year to construct a school in rural Cambodia, and this year they aim to come up with $50,000 to build houses for 25 Dalit families in Tamil Nadu, India.

Pam Mandel, who writes the Nerd’s Eye View blog and is one of the group’s founders, says about 90 travel bloggers participated in the 2009 fund-raising effort. The other founders include Beth Whitman, editor of the Wanderlust and Lipstick blog; Debbie Dubrow, founder of Delicious Baby blog; and Michelle Duffy, who writes the WanderMom blog.


“Right now, there are a few hundred kids attending a school that last year at this time did not exist,” Mandel says, referring to the school in Preah Vihear in northern Cambodia. “This year, our goal is to raise $50,000 to build a village in India. That’s not a metaphor. Our money will go to build houses for about 25 previously homeless Dalit (Untouchable) families in Tamil Nadu.”

The funds will go to LAFTI (Land for Tillers Freedom) and the U.S.-based Friends of LAFTI Foundation.

To raise funds, bloggers procure and host a prize from a company and write a blog post endorsing the prize and the LAFTI project.

Prizes might range from a backpack to a hotel stay, for instance, and the drawings take place in mid-December.

The Passports with Purpose website states: “Prizes do best if they have your wholehearted endorsement, so please plan to approach only companies whose products you love, and preferably only companies who you have worked with before. In addition, please choose a prize that would appeal to your readership.”

Passports with Purpose then produces a catalogue of prizes and readers donate money in $10 increments, indicating the number of times they want to be entered in the giveways for each prize.

The effort gets heavily promoted in social media.

Passports with Purpose so far has lined up BootsnAllTravel as its 2010 platinum sponsor, with other sponsors including HomeAway, Travellers Point and Livemocha for the Indian village project.

Additional sponsors, bloggers and prize-donating companies are also being sought.

Sponsors in 2009 included platinum sponsor Virtuoso and silver sponsors, BootsnAllTravel, HomeAway,, Raveable, and Travellerspoint.

Sponsorships begin at $1,000 per company.

And, what about the purpose of Passports with Purpose?

Obviously, it is a way for travelers, travel bloggers and travel companies to do some long-lasting good for people in places like Cambodia and India, and not to treat these destinations merely as another stop on a tourist itinerary.

As the website states: “We know this effort will not only raise money for a very worthy charity, but will also build a stronger sense of community among travel bloggers and demonstrate the effect we can have when we work together.  We hope you’ll consider joining us this year!”

Yes, the power of travel bloggers at work.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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  1. Jayson Marshall

    That’s like saying because phelps works out in a huge, olympic size pool he should justify wasting all that extra water by working for the peace corp helping third world countries build wells for better water.

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