|The first BfP beneficiaries graduate!|
|The Philippine Navy helps deliver bikes|
Back in 2004, Joel Uichico, a local businessman, noticed the children of Baclayon walking barefoot along rocky terrain just to get to school. He found that some of these children were walking up to 5km one way and some were dropping out of school because of the hardship this long trek was putting on the family. Something had to be done.
Because of the roads, cost of public transportation, and even the weather, he knew the only solution to this problem was getting these kids bicycles. He just wasn't sure how to go about doing that. He contacted his cousin Jo Grant located in the United States for help. Grant connected Joel with Bikes for the World and a new partnership was born.
|Courtesy Lucy Neher
Here in the States we don't often think about the importance a bicycle has on a family. We often use them for recreation rather than transportation or work. Overseas a bicycle creates a means of life and often increases the amount of money coming into a household.
This past year in Takoma Park, however, Lucy Neher the Safe Routes to School Coordinator for the City of Takoma Park brought a bigger awareness to riding a bike to school. This first ever Bike to School Day brought 130 students and 30 parents out on their bikes May 9th. But think if you HAD to do this EVERY day monsoon or shine!
|Joel Uichico BfP Director rides home with the kids|
Once the Bikes for Education program started teachers, principals, and guidance counselors saw an immediate shift in performance. Students were on time and eager to come to school.
|BfW Outreach Coordinator Yvette Hess|
The kids all receive helmets and training, both book and hands on. There were times I questioned whether bikes were really better than walking on some of these roads. But then we would hit a two yard wide muck puddle and I knew I wouldn't want to walk through that in shoes or flip flops.
|Odoni Pestelos with Bicycle Escape water bottle|
One thing I did notice was the need for gear. Yes, we will take your unwanted shorts and jerseys and see that they are delivered to our partners overseas. Tires, brakes, cables...these were all put under immense stress in these conditions and the kids are going to need replacement parts to keep these bikes running. We try to send parts along with the shipments, but we need funds to do this. You can donate to this specific program HERE or by indicating it under the Designation Code on our website donation form.
Even water bottles. Every now and again a bottle is left on a bike and sent overseas. I was tickled when I was lost, (yes, I was separated from the group and wandering around with just a few guys in the remote mountains of Bohol) looked up, and saw this guy drinking out of a local (to me) water bottle! I was thrilled to see Ako Ang Simula (a Philippine TV show) with host Karen Davila, sponsor a drive to raise money to get all these kids water bottles.
Take a look at the program shown on ABS-CBN. Karen Davila introduces us to the program, the kids, and the revolution that is happening thanks to the bikes donated by Bikes for the World.