Transport and development go hand-in-hand. Virtually everything traded, must be transported, and almost everyone needs wheels to get to work or school. Simple, affordable transport generates income opportunities in developing countries, as well as saving lots of time and back-breaking work.
In Britain, millions of bikes are thrown away or lie unused in sheds, whilst many people in Africa have no access to transport of any kind. People spend hours each day walking to collect water, firewood or to access health care, school and employment. A bicycle lightens this burden and dramatically improves their wellbeing as well as work and education opportunities helping to bring social change. A bicycle cuts travel time to a fraction and can carry passengers and heavy loads. Bikes give families the extra time to earn, learn and enjoy life.
The ever growing list below shows the countries that the bikes have been sent to since we started shipping to Africa in 1998. We have now sent more than 100 container shipments and over 40,000 bicycles (for current total please see below)- all thanks to the donations of bikes, time and money from our many wonderful supporters. Very many thanks to all who have supported our work.
We've just had our last supper in Namibia, the trip has been a great sucess in both showing Halfords what we do, and in learning how to help our African Partners develop.
On Friday we visited the Singalamwe Shine Bicycle Shop which employs four people, two of whom are women.
The workshop is notable for having been closed in the past due to witchcraft! The local Headman was supposedly having sex with all of the women of the village 'in spirit form' while they were asleep.
In Oct 2012 they built a small grocery store (a mud hut with a tin roof, in the local style) which has 6 months later just covered the cost of building it. Michael is delighted that their entrepreneurial spirit is strong - the shop is employing three staff and providing a service to the local community.
Today we visited the a bike workshop based at the Family Health Service (FHS), founded in 2003, who feed and support 264 children in Windhoek – a successful project which is looking for bigger premises. Their work includes getting people birth certificates, so they can have government funded schooling and grants if they are orphans and getting people to school if they've dropped out or never attended due to work or looking after siblings.
Funds from the bikes provide food and school uniforms.
Derek and Merlin have been visiting other workshops with Michael Linke, founder and director of BEN Namibia:
Brief update, as sending as email via mobile, Very Slow up country...
Getting a better understanding of how BEN operate.
Hard Working Men's Bicycle Shop:
- Moses drove us to visit the Jane, the head of Catholic AIDS Action, who support all the projects in this region. The projects give 10% of their profits to CAA, to help their work, such as taking children to a holiday camp, providing school uniforms and supplies, and feeding programs
- he has helped very good community mobiliser, networking between the three local shops
- moving their container to a lovely new location on a main road, next to where the pensions are paid out monthly
Tuliwonde Bicycle Shop:
- a great team, with women mechanics. They'd really like better quality bikes than those they're getting from the current supplier (which is not Re~Cycle)
- made a short film with them, what they like, what some of their challenges are
- met a ranger who'd brought in a Chinese bike for a new tyre, after he'd only had it for a week
Merlin and Derek are in Namibia, showing Emma, Halford's CSR Manager, how we work on the ground, with some of the benefits and challenges. We're here for a week to visit our longstanding partners, the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) Namibia.
We hope to send updates as we go, though are heading up country tomorrow, and don't know what internet connection will be like...
Re~Cycle is looking for someone to help our ambitious expansion plans......
Full Time 38 hours per week but with some flexibility
Salary £16,000 - £18,000 depending on experience
Re~Cycle is very excited to announce an ongoing partnership with Halfords.
As there are literally millions of bikes rusting away in sheds across the UK, the logistics of getting hold of these bikes has always been an issue for us. However with Halfords' 460 stores across the UK, with each one being a potential drop off point for bikes for us in the future, the challenge is on to grow our African Partner base in a sustainable manner, without getting drowned with bikes in the mean time!
Although the details are still begin worked out, we're looking at a long term partnership and Halfords who will also be raising funds to help us grow too.
Community & CSR Manager for Halfords, Emma Thomas, comments: "we're really excited to be partnering with Re~Cycle, working with them to help collect more bikes and also raise funds, benefiting more people in Africa in the long term."
We are delighted to have Halfords' support and look forward to working with them.
This does NOT mean 'take your bike to Halfords' just yet, we're working on the best way to roll this out. More details will be announced shortly - watch this space!
In the mean time, please use our map of UK bike re-use projects here
Fancy a cycling challenge? We're an official charity partner with three bike events in 2013:
We'd be delighted if you could take part and cycle for us. Every penny raised is much appreciated. Please find out more here.
Congratulations to our friends at Action Bikes (who collect and ship bikes for us). They were voted into the top 20 Independent Bike Shops in the UK, due in part to their community involvement!
Currently the London Cycling Campaign & London Evening Standard are taking nominations for the London Cycling Awards.
Categories include Best Retailer and Best Community Project. You can vote here
Nominations are open until Wednesday 17th April, voting starts Friday 19th.
Find your nearest bike re-use project, including Action Bikes in London, using our UK bike re-use project map - here
Mid-Essex-based Co-operative, Chelmsford Star has just donated and delivered a refurbished and sign written transport van to Re~Cycle.
The third shipment of bikes is now on its long journey to the bicycle workshop Salvo Bikes, part of the Salvation Army International Development's Anti Child-Trafficking project in Mchinji,Malawi. The shipment comprises of 433 bicycles as well as many spare parts to enable the bikes to be serviced and maintained.
Today, 5 March we are awaiting delivery of another container, the 4th of this year, that is destined for The Bicycling Empowerment Network in Cape Town, South Africa. With more bikes being donated we are able to increase the frequency of shipments to our partners so many thanks to all for your much appreciated support.