Organization’s Rugged Bicycles Assist People in Need in Sub-Saharan Africa
Chicago, March 16, 2012 (Globe Newswire) — World Bicycle Relief is a not for profit organization that was created by bike industry leader SRAM Corporation in 2005 to aid victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami in Sri Lanka. The organization recently distributed its 100,000th bicycle to people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. “What we found in Africa was a fundamental gap in the market of quality, sturdy and culturally appropriate bicycles to the millions of its residents living at the bottom of the market.” says F.K. Day, Founder and President of World Bicycle Relief. “Affordable, reliable transportation is no doubt one of the most valuable but unrecognized tools of relief and development work there is…a bicycle is an industrial revolution in an individual’s life,” he states.
To date, World Bicycle Relief has distributed more than 100,000 bikes in ten African and Asian countries enabling HIV & AIDS healthcare workers to reach more people in remote villages, students to get to school safely and efficiently, and farmers to carry more goods to and from markets. World Bicycle Relief has also trained more than 750 local field mechanics in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda.
Each bicycle distributed has an impact not only on the life of the recipient but on many others’ lives as well. For instance, school
attendance used to be difficult for a 16-year old Zambian girl named Beene because her school was five miles away and her only option was to walk. Now, with her World Bicycle Relief bike, Beene is able to attend school five days a week, allowing her to learn and work toward her goal of becoming a nurse. When Beene is not at school, she lends her bicycle to her sister’s family to transport and sell fish in surrounding villages. They also frequently use it to transport Beene’s niece and nephew to the health clinic eight miles away.
By partnering with other relief groups and using existing supply chains, World Bicycle Relief has created an efficient, sustainable method for delivering not only a means of transportation, but also access to independence and livelihood. Compared to walking, biking is four times faster and allows five times the carrying capacity, significantly increasing productivity.
World Bicycle Relief’s 100,000 bikes have been distributed as follows:
Disaster Relief: 24,376 bicycles to disaster relief efforts to connect people with markets, healthcare, and education post the 2004 East Indian Ocean tsunami.
Healthcare: 23,000 for World Bicycle Relief’s Healthcare programs to enable HIV/AIDS caregivers to reach and treat adults and vulnerable children living with HIV & AIDS.
Education: 17,046 for World Bicycle Relief’s Education programs to enable African students (70% girls) to get to school safely and efficiently, leaving more time for homework and household responsibilities.
Microfinance: 3,837 through local Microfinance Institutions for local farmers and entrepreneurs to improve their productivity and economic opportunities by getting their goods to market in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
Social Enterprise: 32,372 have been purchased by other non-profits, corporations, farms, and individuals. These World Bicycle Relief bicycles are primarily used to power other non-profit organization’s programs. For example, Wildlands Conservation Trust uses the bicycles in South Africa to help improve the environment; International Medical Corps uses World Bicycle Relief bicycles in their healthcare programs in Kenya.
For more information on World Bicycle Relief, please visit www.worldbicyclerelief.org.
Source: World Bicycle Relief