Bikes for the World

Saturday, May 12, 2012

From DC to Kampala

Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church Collection
On Saturday May 5th Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church held its first bike collection with Bikes for the World. By the time BfW arrived first thing in the morning they were already wheeling out close to 30 or more bikes they had collected the previous week! They had them lined up and ready to be processed.

We had a great group of volunteers who came out to pitch in and help with the collection. But let me tell you, the ladies of Pilgrims Rest are not afraid to get greasy! Everyone there picked up a tool at some point and helped prepare the bikes for our next shipment, which just happened to be next week (TODAY!).

This is what we love to see...an entire group or congregation coming together to contribute to the success of one common goal, in this case a first time collection with Bikes for the World. So they collected the bikes AND loaded them on the container for Africa!

 This isn't the first service project Pilgrims Rest has tackled either! They old us about the houses they helped build in Haiti after the earthquake and financial training they provided in Africa. They were quite excited to share the next mission trip to South Africa they are planning for next year as well.
Financial training is one thing BfW is proud to say one of our partners in Africa holds in high regards. Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia provides business training right along with the donation of bicycles. And you might know one of our latest shipments was heading to this very project.

 BEN Namibia creates these 'Bicycle Empowerment Centres' which are basically the same containers we pack with bicycles. These BECs contain around 300 bicycles and spare parts and tools. They are delivered to communities where the BECs act as basically, bike shops. The bikes are reconditioned and sold and the BEC becomes a small local business. BEN Namibia trains the locals not only in mechanics but also in how to run a business to ensure its success.

You can read more about BEN Namibia on their web page or ours. For now let's get back to Pilgrims Rest and better yet, the container we loaded today for Uganda.

And this is why we are talking about Pilgrims Rest! Some of the group we worked with last weekend came back out THIS weekend, this time to our Lorton storage facility, where we were loading for Uganda.

It was so great to have this group come out with us after a collection the previous weekend. They were able to see how their work adds to a larger project and see why it was so important to process the bikes like we request. Oh and they also got to place some of the very same bicycles that were donated at their collection into the container today.

After leaving Lorton later today the bikes in this container will head to Baltimore where they will be loaded onto a ship and set sail for Uganda. Because of its location in Africa shipping here is actually a several step process and therefore longer and more expensive than some of the other places we ship.

But we feel this project with the Prisoner's Support Organization is doing a lot of good and therefore ship several containers there throughout the year. Bicycles delivered through PSO have helped homemakers get to and from market so they can buy necessary food and supplies for their families. The bikes have helped workers increase reach in the markets therefore increasing sales. Some new bike owners use them to see AIDS patients decreasing the amount of time it takes to travel long distances making it possible to see many more patients. The Hormisddallen School also purchases kids bikes from PSO for sporting events with the students.

Uganda shipment leaving Lorton


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