Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Responsible Charity for Travelers

Two young girls we met at the Guatemalan school
One of the highlights of my last tour to Guatemala had nothing to do with sightseeing. In the guesthouse of the small Mayan village I was staying in, I met a group of Canadian missionaries. They were at Lake Atitlan building a house for a local woman who'd been left by her husband for a younger woman (she was 26!); and to deliver school supplies that the children in the Sunday School of their church had raised money to buy. I helped them lug large sacks of pens, paper, soccer balls and textbooks to the school and then got to share in the joyous reception that followed as the teachers and students opened the care packages.

It was kismet, a case of being in the right place at the right time. I'd have had no way, otherwise, to know about the needs of this small village school.

Until now, that is, thanks to a lovely website called StuffYourRucksack.com. It informs travelers of worthy organizations around the world that need help, in the form of supplies that can be carried to them in, well, a rucksack (better known as a backpack here in North America). In many cases the organizations are in rural areas without regular postal service, so getting supplies via tourists' bags is a huge opportunity. Most of the organizations requesting help are in Asia, Africa and South America but volunteers are doing research to keep the list growing. Besides schools, they include orphanages, social service centers and hospitals.

Do something really good when planning your next trip and check the website out.


  1. Pauline-A real great idea.

    You have a great blog. We miss your posts to the Frommers site.
    Travel Rob

  2. Pauline,
    Great post and more importantly a great socially responsible site to help those in need. I will be bookmarking this one and looking into what I may be able to do in the future to help.


  3. It's nice to know more travelers are now into charity-oriented activities. Nice travel blog.

  4. Thanks all for your kind messages. So glad you're enjoying the blog!

  5. Thanks to you too, Paul. This blog of yours serves as my reference. I'm a newbie in blogging and just started my blog.

    1. Responsible charity means to give real help, no just a few coins.