Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Back to School, Jiggity Jig

Thanks to bookending weekends plus one 'budget' day, Thanksgiving break stretched to a record-breaking 10 days around these parts. It was with a huge smile that I waved two little boys to the bus stop this morning.

But they have a school to go to (even if it seems it's rarely in session). A school with electricity and heat and running water and paid instructors. And art supplies and plenty of paper and a music program (downsized) and a roof over their heads.

And before I became involved in American Assistance for Cambodia (AAfC), I took all of that for granted (and even did my share of complaining). But the truth is, I should take it for granted. My kids should have a safe, positive place to learn and grow as a basic human right, as should kids everywhere.

But we all know that many, many kids do not, which is where organizations like American Assistance for Cambodia come in. AAfC funds the Rural Schools Project, which has helped build over 400 enriched primary and lower secondary schools in rural Cambodia since 1999. It's helped these kids:

And these:

Because they deserve to have a place for learning just for them. They deserve to reserve a number of hours each day for instruction, expression, and growth.

And don't Cambodian mothers deserve the satisfaction of waving to their children as they depart for school each morning, too? Let's think of the mothers!

But in all seriousness, this is where a fund raising effort called Passports with Purpose comes in. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or follow my travel site, Pitstops for Kids, you may already be familiar with what we're doing this holiday season. If not, I invite you to go find out. It's based on the belief that as travel writers, we have the responsibility to try to make the world we write about a better place. Because travel in and of itself is a luxury. And yeah, we're asking for donations (it's how money is raised, after all), but there's a fun twist. For every $10 you donate, you'll have the opportunity to bid on some really awesome prizes procured by travel writers around the world and maybe get some Christmas shopping done. For instance, Pitstops for Kids has donated a Prism portable travel TV!

So go check it out. I guarantee that while you're reading more about AAfC, you'll feel extra-thankful that your kids are in school...a safe, warm, well-constructed school.

For more Wordful Wednesday posts, visit Seven Clown Circus.

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