Pack for a Purpose

Diego Arias at the Galapagos Islands


Pack for a Purpose (PfaP) is an initiative that serves as a link between communities, schools or hospitals with multiple needs and travelers. Those do not only pack their clothes, but also some supplies, which they donate by help of the organization to those in need. They are motivated to take things to give away when they traveling, as in addition to travel, they learn about the destination and in addition support existing projects. Their slogan sums it up aptly: Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact. The initiative works with different projects in all continent such as Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, North -, Central and South America.

We, as the tourism company, often receive interns of different nationalities to help us in different areas such as marketing and teaching the German language. The students in turn conclude their studies doing their internships, get to know Ecuador with its customs and traditions and finally finish their thesis. “Martjn Van Weert” found “Pack for a Purpose” as an intern in 2016 and since this year we decided to include the project “El Refugio de los Sueños (Refuge of Dreams)” in PfaP with the aim of letting the world travelers know what the project is, its purpose and how they can help. From our side we have been helping financially to the Refuge of Dreams since 2015.

We regularly receive donations from travelers who come to our country, who do not necessarily ask us to organize their trips. What they do is contacting us and/or through Rebecca Rothney ( Together, we coordinate everything and the travelers inform us about the place where we should pick up their donation.

It was always really wonderful to meet kind-hearted people who were willing to share their experiences with us and who wanted to visit our project. So here I will name those people who made more than one child smile. Some even visited us in our office; with others we organized to visit Refugio de los Sueños together. Here are some pictures of these beautiful memories:
Heartfelt thanks to: Xavier A, Dorit H, Ellen R, Courtney S, Kelly C, Mark W and Paullete L. For your information – our project “El Refugio de los Sueños” currently is in need of the following items: colored pencils, school supplies, crayons, paints, books, notebooks, didactic games, etc.

In February of last year 2020, we received the last donation. A couple of visitors from Canada traveled through Ecuador and fulfilled their dream of knowing the Galapagos Islands, they left a suitcase with supplies in a hotel in the city of Quito and I went to pick it up. Then, the unexpected happened – a pandemic that closed all doors of operation and movement for the general population began, so we urgently needed to make the delivery of this suitcase. Finally, at the end of March 2021 and with all the biosecurity measures in place, personnel from the shelter showed up at our office and finally we could deliver the supplies. The shelter of dreams despite the pandemic continues to help the families of all the children who participate here, once a week they make the delivery of food since the children cannot attend the classrooms. At the end you will find a photo of what this visit looked like.

For tourism the COVID-19 pandemic has been very hard because all touristic activities were paralyzed leaving us without employment, but despite this adversity we are working on another venture to one way or another to continue helping the project.

Below, I share with you the experience of the Canadian couple:

Just before the pandemic hits!

My husband and I were very fortunate to visit the Galapagos in February 2020. We had a quick visit in Quito, Ecuador, before flying to the Islands. is a tour company in Quito that supports a local social project called Refugio de Sueños.  Financial support from the tour company provided much needed maintenance to the building that offers a safe haven for children suffering from severe poverty, abuse and danger on the streets. encourages tourists to bring educational materials for the children receiving assistance at the shelter. Click here to read more:


The photo above shows me standing next to the items I packed in a tote bag and took to Quito. Diego, SOLEQ’s CEO, is passionate about helping others. He was super accommodating and very conscientious in taking care of our bag of supplies.  Last year, due to the pandemic, the Shelter temporarily changed its operations to provide food for the parents of the children participating in the Dream Shelter. Recently, the children’s educational program was able to get up and running again, and our bag was safely delivered to the Shelter.  Diego was thoughtful enough to take a photo (below), in pandemic-era mask attire.  Paulette L.

Pack for a Purpose
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