I was first introduced to Pack for A Purpose by a friend in Brazil. He owns a small tour company in Rio de Janeiro, working from out of a favela called Rocinha. He knew I had plans of setting up my own company in Cape Verde, so he explained the importance of using the Pack for A Purpose initiative.
Besides setting up a tour company, my ambition was to play a part in community development in Cape Verde through my small foundation. Since I was working in the tourism sector, the use of the Pack for A Purpose initiative seemed like a very good way to support the work of a few important projects in my neighborhood that focus on education.
Starting out, one thing that really surprised me was to find out that I was the first to register as a member in Cape Verde. With thousands of tourists traveling to the country, how could it be that no other tour company or accommodation had signed up?
Soon after signing up I would send the PfaP link in my welcome messages to upcoming guests. And it worked! I started receiving school supplies such as pencils, pens and notebooks. These were very much needed at the after school projects in the neighborhood. One teacher would hand things out to the kids who had the most need for them, while another teacher used the supplies as a method to motivate the children. He would hand them out as prizes to the hardest working kids in the class.
The donations even played a part in the Sonvela Arte project. This project uses the power of art to create social change. Our goal with this project was to transform the community, and to create opportunities. While painting and creating the murals we would also hand out PfaP donations to neighborhood kids, making it a project everyone was involved in.
In another neighborhood something else amazing was happening. I was helping out a small project in Monte Sossego, where an aritsan wanted to do a weekend art school for the kids. In the first season we bought all the supplies needed for the art school. It was not a lot of money, but because I work with such a small budget, it was a big deal for our organization. However, in the second season of the project all of the supplies used were brought to us thanks to PfaP!
We had 20-25 very grateful children attending an art school in a part of a neighborhood where this was something completely new. I could not believe that we were able to bring this all together just by using supplies donated because of PfaP. The project might not have seen another season without the amazing support of all the travelers who brought us fantastic donations.
There is so much more I could share about why I think this is an initiative that should be embraced anywhere around the world. But for me, this was the best and most rewarding example of how Pack for A Purpose has been able to make an impact here in Cape Verde. I’m committed to encourage many more people of the use of PfaP in the country. It would make me very happy to see the large hotels and resorts here promoting the PfaP philosophy, because I’ve seen the difference it can make.