Eduardo graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in Cultural and Religious Studies; with an emphasis in Philosophy. After he graduated he worked in after school programs, restaurants, with the homeless, developmentally disabled youth and adults. Eduardo has first hand experience and travel exposure in over 40 countries. He oversees all travel logistics, charitable contributions and customer service. He values adventure, creativity and authenticity.
Monica grew up in Oak Hills, California. After two years of restlessness while in college, she felt a deep desire to travel and so she moved to Boulder, CO. While in Colorado, she worked for 2 years with adults with developmental disabilities at IMAGINE!. Three years later she became the Co-Founder of PoorPilgrim. Monica is the coordinator for travel itineraries, media projects and charity site. She is well versed in human communications and cultural outreach. Monica values introspection, curiosity and simplicity.
Narrated by Eduardo Rojo, the Co-founder of PoorPilgrim
I never imagined in my lifetime that I would be doing what I am doing. I never imagined that it would turn into something as meaningful and beautiful as it has. In simplicity, we are here to inspire others to travel for a cause.
I must begin this story by thanking all of the humble people I have met along the way; the children of Peru, the aborigines of Australia, the fearless of Mexico, the strongminded of Europe and most of all, my wife.
When my wife and I met in 2013, we were both very passionate about working with the poor. Between the both of us, we had over 7 years of experience working with people in shanty towns, the homeless, inner city kids and developmentally disabled adults. We would often say that we loved working with the poor because ‘we needed them, and they needed us.’ We needed them because they reminded us of a simplicity, courage and compassion that we never had; and they needed us for human solidarity. It was always a mutual relationship of giving and receiving.
In 2014, my wife and I would go on a trip that would ultimately impact our lives forever. The purpose was simple, to travel to 11 countries and encounter the poverty of each country. Our goal was to learn as much as we could in order that we might share with others after the trip. Even though I had already been to over 30 countries before this trip, I knew this adventure would be different; this trip had a horizon destined for meaning.
As we traveled throughout the United States, Denmark, Israel, Italy and more; we began to notice a common theme. What we observed time and time again in each country was prostitution. The more countries we went to, the more we encountered prostitution. Now I had seen prostitutes before, but I never experienced them like this. These prostitutes were young, afraid and in despair. Everytime we looked into their eyes we could see and feel their suffering. It was a suffering that deeply affected us. As the months passed by, we began to think: What were their realities? Did they choose this lifestyle? How could their life not be a form of poverty? It was these questions that stirred inside us and forced us to look for answers. The more answers we had, the more questions we had.
After 5 months, we decided to go to Mexico. Mexico would be our last stop before returning back to the U.S. By the time we landed in Mexico, my wife and I had learned through lots of research and experience about the direct relationship between prostitution and sex trafficking. The broken reality was that 90% of prostitutes were involved in, or going to be involved in forced sex trafficking. This was not only happening in our own country, but also in all the other countries we went to. The more we learned, the more we desired to help. We wanted to get to the root and discover some of the origins of this reality. Mexico was the place where we hoped to find more answers.
As we continued our trip in Mexico, we were pointed in the direction of children. In specific, we learned about the reality of street children, orphans and at risk children in Mexico. We learned that communities in Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Tijuana and many more were selling children for sex. The first time I heard this, it was as if I was being pierced by a sword. I was instantly brought to tears. I remember that my wife and I had no words after hearing this, we were consumed by our own silence. In that moment, I knew this was the end of the trip, and the beginning of a new story…
These are the seeds that gave birth to PoorPilgrim. PoorPilgrim is a cause that was inspired by many but created by two; my wife and I. Our primary mission now is to help children and change the way people travel. We want to help children that are abused, abandoned and neglected. We truly believe at risk children are the biggest targets and victims of the poverties of this world. What do we ask of you? Join us by donating to the cause, volunteering and traveling with us. We cannot do this alone, but together we can help them one by one…
Traveling and charity are two realities that have changed the way we see the world. This is what we are passionate about, and this is what we desire to share. The world of adventure, self exploration and human solidarity is open to all.
Mission: To create a new way for people to travel: Charitable Travel.
Vision: To protect and empower at risk children. It is by providing basic needs, education and solidarity that this goal is achieved. It is by teaming up with trusted partnerships and communities that this mission is made possible.