You might have heard us say a bicycle is more than just a bicycle, but rarely has it been more true than for Moses Musukubili, a health worker and bike shop manager from Namibia’s Zambezi region. For Moses and the children in his care, bikes and bicycle maintenance mean food and a path to a better life.
This month we sent off a total of 1,286 bicycles to our partners in Ghana. The first shipment of 435 bicycles was sent to Ability Bikes Cooperative, a social enterprise bike shop that provides affordable transport options to the local community of Koforidua.
We sent a further two shipping containers filled with 851 bikes to the Village Bicycle Project. The first container was loaded at our HQ in Colchester and the second in Twickenham by our supporters Action Bikes.
To date we have sent a staggering 59,023 bikes to Africa. Research from the field has shown that the average household bike is used by 6 people, meaning that we've potentially helped as many as 354,138 people!
Hardcourt are exhibiting a number of exquisitely customised polo bike wheel covers at Look Mum No Hands! in Mare street. All the works will be available to buy via silent auction, with all proceeds going to Re~Cycle.
Last week we sent another container of bikes to the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) in South Africa. A total of 422 bikes were shipped along with tools and spare parts needed to maintain them. Some of these bikes will be sent to a new Bicycling Empowerment Centre (BEC) in Montagu, approximately 150 miles North East of Cape Town.
Meet Prosper Dzandu, one of the Village Bicycle Project's master mechanics. Prosper joined the Village Bicycle Project in August 2013 after working on a project with Jason (VBP Country Director) in 2010. Originally a Kente weaver, he retrained as a bicycle mechanic, putting his meticulous skills to use to repair and maintain bicycles.
Another container has been loaded and is now on its way to The Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) in Namibia. On arrival the bikes will be shared between several of the 32 Bicycling Empowerment Centres (workshops) set up by BEN throughout the country. Most are in rural areas where public transport is non existent and where use of a bicycle will massively reduce journey times normally made on foot, improve the effectiveness of health workers and help generate and sustain local employment opportunities. Please see http://bennamibia.org/about-us-2/ for more information about the impact of bicycles in Namibia.
Many thanks as always for the many individuals, groups and organisations who donated the bicycles to us and trust that you will delighted at the power of a humble bicycle has to improve lives in Africa.
This week we have sent off another container to The Village Bicycle Project (VBP) in Ghana. This one was loaded with 441 bicycles and brought the total up to 148 shipments sent to Africa. VBP's Program Officer, Jason Finch will be visiting the UK at the end of August and we are looking forward to seeing him again and catching up on the latest news of their bicycle programs and the impact of the distribution of bikes to rural communities. Most of the bikes in the container were collected on our behalf by Halfords and we thank them and all of their customers who kindly took their unwanted bikes to their local Halfords store during the recent trade in event run over a 5 day period. Very well done and many thanks again to all of the Halfords staff and customers who contributed to the event's success.
The Isle of Wight branch was set up by the late Tony Harding and to date, has collected and delivered over 1200 bikes to Re~Cycle. The branch is now run and co-ordinated by Tony’s son, Antony Harding, who along with the local community continue Tony's legacy.
Following our recent relocation to our new warehouse in Wormingford, operations are now getting back to normal and we are currently loading the second container from our new premises and the 15th of 2014 (we did 16 in the whole last year) - this one is for The Village Bicycle Project in Ghana. We are very pleased to have started to recruit some new volunteers from the surrounding area and delighted that virtually all of our long term volunteers are making the effort to get to us, despite in many cases a slightly longer journey. Well done and thank you all.