While planning our trip to Rwanda a few years ago, we came across an article about a special school run by a Canadian woman. The school was located near one of the villages we planned to visit so we emailed asking if they accepted donations and if yes, which items were most needed. We brought small but hard to find items, mostly medical, from home and simply purchased everything else there to support the local economy. The entire experience was an eye-opener…kids were actually excited to receive pens and notebooks!

We were fortunate to randomly read about the school but two non-profits aim to make it easier for well-meaning travelers and local communities to connect:

Pack for a Purpose
Use available space in your luggage to bring needed supplies. Although they recommend bringing 5lbs of supplies any amount is welcome. Pack for a Purpose even shows you how to pack your items efficiently.

  • Find an accommodation or tour company and a project it supports.
  • Choose the supplies you wish to bring from the specific items requested.
  • Drop off the supplies at the accommodation or tour company.
  • The supplies will then be delivered to the community-based project.
  • Please note you do not need to be a guest at the listed accomodations for them to accept your donation.

GlobeDrop
GlobeDrop is a free web and mobile application that connects travelers to verified social organizations. Immersion is encouraged, as donors usually purchase locally and hand-deliver supplies.

  • Donors set a delivery date, select what and how much goods they want to directly deliver to the charity establishment.
  • Once the delivery request has been approved, the donor receives an address and map to the location.
  • GlobeDroppers are encouraged to buy locally.
  • Donor personally transports supplies.

Please consider either Pack for a Purpose or GlobeDrop before your next trip.  A large number of destinations are covered and with little effort you can help out the local community.

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