BIKES FOR THE WORLD IMPROVES THE WORLD ONE BIKE AT A TIME.
“A bike can get someone someplace … from poverty to self sufficiency.”
Bikes for the World (BfW) is a sponsored project of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association whose mission is to collect valuable but unwanted bicycles and related material–parts, tools, and accessories–in the United States and deliver it at low cost to community development programs assisting the poor in developing countries. The bikes donated to BfW partner organizations provide much-needed and affordable transportation to laborers, micro businesspeople, farmers, health workers, and students. Bicycle recipients benefit in proportion to their efforts.
Over the last four years, more than 31,000 bicycles have been donated, and nearly all shipped overseas. 2008 has been the most successful year ever. BfW delivered more than 10,000 bicycles to non-profit partner programs overseas, making jobs, school, and health care accessible to the very poor.
HOW RECIPIENTS BENEFIT
Here are a few people whose lives have been changed for the better because of the work BfW is doing.
• In Uganda, a bicycle made the difference for Mama Alex between backbreaking labor at subsistence wage, and a decent, independent existence.
• In Costa Rica, William Sandoval commutes to his custodial job in a suburb of San José on a road bike purchased on credit for $20 through Bikes for the World’s local partner, Fundación Integral Campesina. Before, he would pay $36 a month for bus fare. The money he saves helps him provide more for his family every month.
• In Ghana, Sara Aidor was in high school and a member of a health education and HIV/AIDS awareness group. She learned about bike maintenance in a special clinic and got her discounted bike from the Village Bicycle Project, a long-term Bikes for the World partner. According to Sara, “We have ridden our bikes to lots of local villages to do plays about hygiene, sanitation and health education. The people need to learn more about these things so they do not get sick.”
HOW VOLUNTEERS BENEFIT
Those who donate their bicycles, volunteer their time, or make monetary donations to Bikes for the World also get a lot in return. The basic reward for those who donate their bicycles is the satisfaction of knowing that your old bike is being put to good use. Beyond that, the 1,500+ volunteers who collected and prepped bikes for shipment or loaded containers this past year learned new skills and worked together toward a common goal…to help improve the lives of others.
Community organizations continue to find sponsoring a bike collection to be a great way to educate, build teamwork, and further their service missions. For their participation, local young people have satisfied Scout, Bar Mitzvah, high school graduation, and other service requirements.
In 2008, Bikes for the World completed the first full year of the Rockville Youth Bicycle Project (RYBP), providing opportunities to local young people to earn a bike, ride a bike safely, and earn community service hours required for high school graduation.
SO FAR IN 2009
Bikes for the World is approaching 6,000 bikes shipped so far in 2009 to Panama Goodwill, Ghana’s Village Bicycle Project, Costa Rica’s Fundacion Integral Campesina, and Uganda’s Women Prisoners Support Organisation. BfW anticipates adding Liberia to the community of partners, and are actively looking at other candidates, in Africa as well as Central America. They have also arranged for Chicago’s Working Bikes Cooperative to ship to Costa Rica, and to WPSO in Uganda, expanding the impact of BfW’s work.
Please check out Bikes for the World online, and if the spirit moves you, help them help improve the lives of others by donating your old bicycle, sponsoring a collection of good used bikes in your community to help their cause, or donate dollars.
And, remember…Feed Your Good Dog, so your good dog always wins!
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