Seattle nonprofit will present 50 bikes to kids of the Navajo Nation in September, plus build a sustainable bike shop
Seattle, WA – August 2, 2011– 88bikes Foundation – a foundation that gives bikes to kids in developing countries – will be making their first endowment in the United States this fall when they will present 50 bikes to young people of the Navajo Nation in Montezuma Creek, Utah. Additionally, they will be unveiling the organization’s first sustainable bike shop.
In September, 50 young people attending the Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek will be given their bikes at the “Moment of Happy,” the climactic event of each endowment when the children receive their new bike plus a photograph of their bike’s sponsor. Prior to the event, all 50 students will have completed a two-day bike repair workshop. Additionally, as part of the endowment, these underserved youth will have the opportunity to take a guided bike tour through the southwest desert, and there is a bike rack design competition in the works.
“We are thrilled to have the Navajo Nation as our first endowment in the United States,” said Dan Austin, co-founder of 88bikes. “The administration and students of the Whitehorse High School and our partner NGO, DesignBuildBluff, have brought tremendous enthusiasm and expertise to the project. We’re especially excited to work with the Whitehorse High School Student Council, whose direction helps us mold the project for the greatest benefit to the kids. Residents of the Navajo Nation wrestle with remoteness and wrenching poverty. We hope that bikes – and the many forthcoming repair workshops, clinics and bike rides – will enhance the kids’ sense of happiness and independence and provide them with a fun, healthy way of exploring their world.”
The other major aspect of the Navajo Nation endowment is the building of the first sustainable and transportable 88bikeshop. Created by 88bikes partner DesignBuildBLUFF, a non-profit organization that brings architecture students to the Desert Southwest for three months to design and build sustainable housing for American Indian families. It is being constructed primarily from locally foraged materials, including the hoods of junked cars on the reservation. Portable – it is built on a trailer axis – and spacious, it can also be used as a support trailer for guided bike trips, as well as the site for workshops and clinics. The 88bikeshop will be primarily located in Montezuma Creek and unveiled at the Moment of Happy event in September.
“The 88Bikes Shop is an exciting project to design/build as it will be constructed out of discarded car parts found on the Red Mesa Reservation, only minutes away,” said Cindy Bithell, intern architect for DesignBuildBLUFF. “Our first Bluff-based community project will be beneficial in more ways than one!”
The Navajo Nation endowment is part of VILLAGES, 88bikes’ fifth and biggest project to date with additional endowments in Mongolia, Mozambique, South Africa and Nicaragua. To date, more than 1,000 new bikes have been distributed to local children through donations of $88 per bike to the VILLAGES project. 88bikes also plan to set up four to five bike shop “hubs” serving these rural communities and establish bike shop apprenticeships and workshops for each location.
The 88bikes Foundation has a very simple goal: to provide a sustainable, joyful, empowering form of transportation to young people in developing countries, in situations where these children have been challenged to be their own heroes due to war, conflict, poverty, disease, or other regional hardships.
88bikes was started in 2006 by Dan Austin, Nicolas Arauz, and Jared Austin. In November 2006, 88bikes started its first project in partnership with the Friends of Cambodian Children, to raise funds for 88 bikes. After exceeding its fundraising goal in just two weeks, the organization gave 88 bikes to 88 kids at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January 2007.
88bikes has now completed four projects, which have brought more than 1,000 bikes to children in developing countries around the world. To learn more and become a bike sponsor, go to www.88bikes.org.
Source: Julie Atherton