MANGO MEETS….. Rebecca Rothney – Pack for a Purpose

Miki blog 7 Turks and CaicosRebecca Rothney founded Pack for a Purpose, an all-volunteer non-profit charity, in 2009.

Rebecca started her career teaching, then at 40 she became an entrepreneur, manufacturing and wholesaling cufflinks made of postage stamps. They sold to Nordstrom’s in the USA and at Harrods in the UK. At 60 she started Pack for a Purpose with a small group of talented and dedicated friends.

Supported by more than 320 participant hotels and tour companies, Pack for a Purpose provides current information on its website, direct from the source, for community projects in need of specific items such as school and medical supplies. Rebecca believes that with a small amount of space and little effort, travellers can make a Big Impact.

Mango caught up with Rebecca as our clients in Cambodia, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Siem Reap and Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh, have just signed up for Pack For A Purpose. The sister hotels will be supporting Sunrise Children’s Villages, three orphanages in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville,  and ABOUTAsia Schools, a progressive non-profit organization, which provides immediate, targeted aid to Cambodian children and schools. The things that are needed by these two impressive charities are school supplies, text and reading books, wall charts, sports and outdoor activity items, games, toys and clothing.

Over to Rebecca:

Rebecca-feeding-Lola-at-Lewa-Wildlife-Conservancy,-Kenya-March-2008What’s best about now?
I have three incredible young women – Emily and Megan, who were originally college interns for us – and Lindsey, who is currently volunteering and plans to be our intern in the fall. They are providing our all-volunteer organization with an additional 25 hours a week of amazingly dedicated, technologically savvy, and productive time!  In addition, my husband and I finally get to take Noah, who is like a grandson to us, to Africa for his first time in June – my ultimate Auntie Mame fantasy!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I confess, I asked my husband what he thought, and he said, “But so many things make you happy!”  I am fortunate in that way.  For me, perfect happiness is the happiness of the moment, whether it is laughing with friends, winning a game of cribbage with my husband, watching two lion cubs cross a shallow stream for the first time, reading the emails of delighted Pack for a Purpose travellers, or watching Mikhail Baryshnikov perform Giselle at the Kennedy Center.

What is your favourite journey?
Any morning in the African bush on safari.

What is your favourite place?
Sitting in my white wicker chair, feet on the ottoman, during a mild day in May on our screen porch, listening to the bird songs and the sound of our fountain.

What is your greatest fear?
Spiders! I have been bitten twice – and I have yet to bite a spider!

Who are your heroes in real life?
My heroes in life are the millions of ordinary people doing impactful things every day which enhance the lives of others.

And in fiction or history?
Ma Ramotswe in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency book series by Alexander McCall Smith and the Little Prince from The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, which includes one of my favourite quotes: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to sing on key without someone else singing next to me.

What is your greatest achievement?
 Other than making someone laugh every day, I would say that putting together the amazing team of talented volunteers who have made Pack for a Purpose a reality, has been my greatest achievement so far.

What is your favourite pastime?
Hosting an evening with friends and international visitors in our home which includes a beautiful table, delicious food, lots of laughter and interesting discussions.

What is the quality you like most in a person?
 The willingness to express gratitude to others.

If you had one super-power, what would it be?
 I would love to be able to say, in the words of Star Trek’s Captain Picard, “Make it so!” and know it would happen. Of course, all my commands would be perfectly reasonable and beneficial.

What will we all be talking about in one year’s/five years’ time?
I hope we’ll be talking about how easy it is to make a Big Impact by what we bring in our suitcases to benefit the communities we are visiting. In five years, I hope we will be talking about  how amazing it is that Pack for a Purpose travellers have brought over 50,000 kilos of supplies to community projects around the world!

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Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor’s General Manager Christian Sack visiting local orphans

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