More than a billion people worldwide live on less than one US dollar a day, and many of them lack adequate access to transport. In rural areas, markets, schools, and health care facilities can be widely dispersed, and public transportation is often erratic, crowded, and expensive. Walking is the only reliable transportation available to many hundreds of millions of people.
There is a simple solution that can put schools and clinics within reach, increase the loads that can be carried to market, allow the small vendor to reach more potential customers, or radically increase the number of patients a rural health care worker can reach in a day: the bicycle.
In addition, providing a few simple tools, teaching bicycle repair skills, and helping start a shop with an initial small stock of used bicycles can create an entrepreneurial opportunity that lifts a family out of poverty, or provides a steady stream of income for a small local nonprofit.
In this season of giving, I have been thinking a lot about the transformative power of bicycles. Although there are lots of amazing bicycle nonprofits and cooperatives in America, it will come as no surprise to Bikejuju readers that I am particularly interested in the role of bicycles as a vehicle for change in Africa, where I spend a couple of months each year.
Over the last six months I’ve been assembling a list of projects in Africa and Latin America that harness the transformative power of bicycles in myriad ways, and now I’d like to ask you to consider supporting them.
It’s that time of year. Please support one of these projects with a generous donation. How about a hundred bucks?
- Bamboo Bike Project
- Bicycle Empowerment Network Namibia
- Bicycle Empowerment Network South Africa
- Bicycles for Humanity
- Bikes for the World
- Bikes Not Bombs International Projects
- Bikes to Rwanda
- Bikes Without Borders
- FABIO Uganda
- Kaloko Trust
- Mikes Bikes Africa Projects
- Project Rwanda
- Village Bicycle Project
- Wheels for Life
- World Bicycle Relief
In 2010 I’ll be turning Bikejuju more in this direction, blogging a lot more about these initiatives, including visiting a few in person. If you have experience working with any of these organizations, or are aware of other projects in Africa, Asia, or Latin America that should be added to the list, please post a comment or get in touch.