You might ask –  why care?

Why should it matter what happens to a group of people halfway across the world from you?  When it’s more vital to concentrate on your own family’s needs.  To keep afloat after the 2008 economic crash.

It matters because what happens in an unseen, far away land affects us all.

The world is no longer defined by the boundaries of your neighborhood.  Borders have tumbled down across continents.  When earthquakes level homes and kill hundreds in Haiti, that impacts us all.  When contaminated water floods the Danube and surrounding area, rendering farmland useless, it’s something we can’t ignore.

Those were my exact thoughts when I heard Passports With Purpose were seeking bloggers to fund raise this year.  Rather than use my passport for tourist pleasure, it occurred to me that it could be used for so much more.  That’s what triggered my escape from the corporate world.  My time and contribution felt cheap, utterly wasted.

Anyway, this post isn’t about my redemption, but someone else’s.

Passports With Purpose 2010

This year we are proud to lend our blog voice to helping LAFTI raise $50,000 to build a village for Dalit women and their families in Kathur, Tamil Nadu, India.

LAFTI (Land for Tillers Freedom) mission is to empower Dalits, a lower caste dubbed the “untouchables”.   This caste has suffered for several years under severe social, economic and physical abuse.  Dalit women are targeted viciously, as women’s rights begins to take shape in India.

LAFTI works with varying levels of government and financial institutions to purchase land for Dalit families.  They also assist with land distribution and cultivation, housing construction, adult training and youth housing and education.

Each house costs about $2,000 to build.

Need a Traghee?

How to Contribute

Starting November 15, 2010 the general public can contribute $10 increments by donating here.  Be assured, your donations go directly to Friends of LATFI, a 501(c)3 organization.  Donations close on December 13, 2010, so don’t hesitate and start donating now!

Why bother?  You could win a pair of Keen Shoes!

How about a Hoodoo Lace Up?

How the Draw Works

Starting today, the Passports With Purpose website will show a list of prizes available, with a link back to each travel blogger’s website.  For each $10 donation you make to LAFTI you will be entered to win a prize of your choice.

What that means is you can make multiple $10 donations towards your cherished prize or make one $10 donation for a prize.  Another strategy is putting $10 or more on several prizes that whet the appetite.

If you prefer to make a direct donation to LATFI and forgo a prize (why you would is beyond me), click here: donate without choosing a prize.

Venice - perfect for any hard core traveler

The Giveaway – Keen Shoes!!!

KEEN Inc., manufacturer of hybrid footwear, socks and bags, is an outdoor brand that delivers innovative hybrid products, enabling outdoor enthusiasts to live an active lifestyle. Founded in 2003, KEEN was first recognized for its Newport sandal, which featured patented toe protection technology.

The company strives to demonstrate integrity and leadership, especially on social and environmental commitments, while promoting a vibrant, inclusive community that attracts all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. Through its giving program Hybrid.Care, KEEN supports a variety of social and environmental organizations around the globe.

Based in Portland, Oregon, KEEN products are available in more than 5,000 retail locations in more than 50 countries – including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Central America, South America and Europe.

The lucky winner of this prize will be given a coupon code and can choose any pair of shoes from Keen’s catalogue!!  Visit www.keenfootwear.com for more details.

Maybe you’re traveling to a hot and humid country next year, which involves some sturdy sandals.  Or you are finally planning that dream trip to climb Mount Everest, a pair of winter hikers would come in handy.  Whatever your travel needs entail, this prize is a blank slate.

Overall value of the prize is $110 to $220.

I’m the proud owner of a pair of Keen Newports and am wearing them right now in India.  They are robust, protect my feet, and are made of AEGIS Microbe Shield lining, to help prevent odor, staining or deterioration.  I adore them.  And for a woman with flat, flat feet they are immensely comfortable!

Whatever your needs, my personal endorsement of Keen is solid.  They work for the curious, adventure seeker.

Final Words

My oddessy with India is a personal quagmire.  I’ve been in India 3 days now, volunteering with an independent organization.  It’s testing my limits, patience, and what we define as “important” work.

Whatever my political or social beliefs, I’m still readjusting them.  I try to view the kids I work with as human beings, the Dalit caste is no different.  And shouldn’t all human beings be given the chance at a fresh start?

Prize is sponsored by www.keencanada.ca