School Hero Antoinette Tuff’s Next Move: Getting Underprivileged Kids To Travel

School Clerk Hailed as Hero After Talking Shooter Down

It was just another day at work for Antoinette Tuff on August 20 when the routine work scene rapidly changed at the hands of a young gunman who intended to murder the students of the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Georgia.

Tuff courageously talked to the shooter and convinced him not to follow through with his plans to wreak havoc on the school and surrounding community. Her inspiring story has been told through news outlets repeatedly since the incident and just two days after the would-be shooting, Tuff decided to use her public platform for good.

She launched a fundraising campaign here in an effort to help inner city kids travel and see the world. Her initial goal for the project was set at $1,500 but she has so far raised a staggering $105,868 (at time of publication).

Travel provides knowledge, compassion and context for those who embrace it. We’re excited to see this campaign do so well.

Angkor Wat Bike Race attracts cyclists for charity

Angkor Wat Bike Race


This past weekend, more than 600 cyclists turned out at dawn for the annual Angkor Wat Bike Race and Ride at the temple complex outside Siem Reap, Cambodia. As the sun rose behind the main temple, cyclists shot off to tackle a 100 kilometer course, a 30 kilometer course, and a breezier 17 kilometer course.

I’m hard pressed to think of a more magical way to experience the temples of Angkor Wat than on a bicycle at sunrise. Throw in a group of passionate cycling companions and a great cause, and you’ve got the makings of a life-changing experience.<

Now in its sixth year, the Angkor Wat Bike Race is organized and hosted by Village Focus International, a non-profit organization that empowers local leaders to serve vulnerable communities in Cambodia and Laos. This year, the event raised more than $50,000 to support four Cambodian slum schools and a shelter for survivors of sex trafficking.

Participants included a mix of Cambodian cycling clubs, local ex-pats, and a small group of international regulars who return to Siem Reap each year just to participate in the race. From the photos in our gallery, it’s not difficult to see why they keep coming back.

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Travelbloggers Fundraiser Passports with Purpose Enters Year Four

Disclaimer: I helped found this initiative and I’m hardly neutral on it. I’ll do my best to stick to the facts here but first, I’ll say this: It’s been awesome.

Passports with Purpose, the travelbloggers fundraiser, turns four this year. Founded in 2009 by four Seattle based bloggers, the initiative pulls together bloggers and travel providers (and their PR reps) to raise money for carefully vetted nonprofit causes that focus on education as a channel to alleviate poverty and improve quality of life. Oh, and there are fabulous prizes, too — for example, last year, Gadling’s Mike Barish gave away a SkyMall gift card.

This year, Passports with Purpose (PwP) is supporting Room to Read, the literacy program founded by John Wood after he’d trekked through Nepal. PwP aims to raise enough money to fund the contstruction, staffing, and provisioning of two libraries in Zambia.

In 2010, PwP raised more than $60,000 for Land for Tiller’s Freedom (LAFTI). The funds were used for construction of 25 homes for families in Southern India. PwP co-founder Beth Whitman attended the ground breaking ceremony for the village in Karrungani, Tamil Nadu. On the conclusion of last year’s fundraiser, PwP recieved this note from Peggy Burns, Exective Director of Friends of LAFTI:

We are so excited that 25 families in Karunganni will soon have a decent place to live. It is all thanks to you, your generous sponsors, and over 300 caring individuals who wanted to make this world a better place. Bravo to all of you.

In 2009, PwP raised nearly double the original goal of $13,000 and funded the construction of a school in rural Preah Vihear, Cambodia. The overage was allotted to additional services that ensure the continued success of the project. Michelle Duffy attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Passports School in March, 2011.


Passports with Purpose uses social media, blogging, and the generosity of sponsors to achieve success. Repeat sponsors for 2011 include Round the World with Us, Traveller’s Point, and HomeAway.

But it’s individual bloggers that are the key to PwP’s continued success. Bloggers who want to participate will find detailed information on the Passports with Purpose website.

Passports with Purpose raises $13,000 to build school in Cambodia

One of the most difficult parts of travel is visiting a less-developed country, seeing a need, and wishing there was something you can do to help fill it. So four travel bloggers from the Seattle area got together and decided to raise some money and put it to use on a particular project. This year, that project is building a school in Cambodia, and they’ve been joined by over 50 additional travel writers, bloggers and travel websites in raising the funds.

The effort, dubbed “Passports with Purpose” started with a goal to raise $13,000 by December 21. But they weren’t just asking for donations out of the goodness of your heart – those who contribute will be entered to win in drawings for some pretty cool prizes like Flip cameras, Shutterfly gift cards, travel gear, and even free stays at hotels around the world. Each entry costs $10 and you can enter to win the drawing for the prize of your choice. Each prize will be valued at $75 or more.

As of yesterday, the group met their $13,000 goal, but rather than stop there they’ve decided to go even bigger. Now they’ll try to raise an additional $13,000 to staff the school with a nurse, install a water filer, and plant a vegetable garden.

The deadline to donate and win a prize closes December 21 and winners will be announced on January 5. All proceeds from the entries will go directly to American Assistance for Cambodia, an independent nonprofit organization formed in 1993, which works with the Cambodian government to build school in rural villages.

The Global Scavenger Hunt is looking for competitors

Ever watched “The Amazing Race” and longed to run around the world, racing through airports, darting in and out of countries and competing challenges? Well, if you’ve got about $10,000 to spare, you can, as a competitor in the 2010 Global Scavenger Hunt.

The event, which is described as being “like Survivor, The Amazing Race and the Eco-Challenge all rolled into one except with much more cultural interaction” is limited to 25 teams and takes place over three weeks in April. The teams will visit ten countries while traveling west around the world from Los Angeles to New York and competing in challenges in order to win the title of “World’s Greatest Traveler”.

Contestants must apply and go through a screening process and pay an entry fee of $9,900 per person, which covers accommodations, all flights, and 40% of meals. The event kicks off on April 9, 2010.

The event isn’t all airport mad-dashes and physical feats though. According to the website, the goal isn’t to race through each country as fast as you can, performing outlandish stunts as you go, but to connect with each culture (though with only 2-3 days in the country, that may be difficult) through the challenges. Each team is also asked to raise $1 per kilometer (which equals the daunting figure of $40,000 per couple) for a total of $1 million raised per event for the Great Escape Foundation, a nonprofit that funds long-term projects and micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.