What is black, shiny, holds up to 200 pounds, is easy to repair and transforms lives? A bicycle designed and built for Africa by World Bicycle Relief. The Aid for Africa member has just put its 100,000th bike to work in Africa. What can 100,000 bicycles do? Transform 500,000 lives. In the hands of students, disaster victims, health workers and small business owners, these bicycles are empowering individuals, communities and entire economies.
In Sub Saharan Africa, WBR’s bicycles are serving communities in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Here are a few of the people whose lives have been changed:
- Cynthia, who uses her bike to go to school (with her brother on the back!) and help with household chores. Her 1.5-hour walk to school now takes less than half the time.
- Greyford, a mechanic who was trained to repair the bikes, now has some 100 clients.
- Purity, who uses her bike to deliver milk to a processing center from her father’s farm, ending their persistent problem with spoilage.
- Mary, one of the few women field mechanics who supports her two children with her work.
- Nebo, a health care provider in rural areas who has doubled the care he provides.
World Bicycle Relief, a U.S.-registered nonprofit organization, was founded by Frederick K. Day (known as F.K.), a cofounder of Scram, the second-largest maker of bicycle components. Seeing a need following the 2004 tsunami, F. K. went to Sri Lanka, where he designed and distributed bicycles for disaster victims. He then saw the need in Africa, where paved roads are rare in rural areas, and cheap bicycles last few trips on the rough terrain.
Today WBR bikes are providing transportation, jobs and hope to half a million people. And WBR has just begun.
Photo credit: World Bicycle Relief