Bikes for the World

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Go Joe!

The Bikes for the Philippines' Bikes for Education project is one of our favorite projects we donate bikes to and not just because we've been there, met the beneficiaries, and even rode to and from school with them. This program, which was started about a year ago, provides bicycles to students who live over 3 km from school in an effort to keep them enrolled in school and eventually graduating. The students are taught how to ride, basic mechanic skills, and overall bike safety as part of the school curriculum.  THIS is why we love this project!

Courtesy: The Coffee
We were excited to learn that Bikes for the Philippines had successfully documented the first installment of bikes that were distributed in Baclayon, where we visited. They were ready for container TWO! This shipment of bikes, using the same model, would be used in the village of Maribojoc, very near Baclayon, again on the island of Bohol. Students will be hand selected and interviewed before entering the program. As with the pilot project, students will be allowed to use the bikes to get to and from school only, earning them upon graduation.

Andrew Glover with Plong-Plong in NJ
Back at home we had been collecting bikes, some specifically for this project. Jo Grant, who approached BfW for bikes for BfP had a collection in Boston earlier this year. Joel Esguerra, working with Gensler, has done a ton of fundraising for this project, as well has holding a collection this summer.

Plong-Plong, seen here in his BfW Tshirt, donated several bikes he collected in his NJ neighborhood for BfW. Because Plong-Plong is from Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines (the city between the two Bikes for Education projects) we made an exception and set those bikes aside for the Philippines shipment.
Bolandrina family

Fast forward to November. Joe Bolandrina and family, Grethel, Lilly, and Max! packed up the car and drove from Massachusetts all the way to our Lorton VA storage site to help us load this next container for the Philippines. Grethel had moved from the Philippines in the 80s and Joe had helped out at that collection outside Boston in the spring. They fell in love with the program and had to help!

And help they did. We got over 500 bikes in this container, which is now on its way to the Philippines. This family of four must have rolled 2/3 of the bikes in there themselves. Lilly and Max were troopers. Max struggled with quite a few bikes that towered over his head, but never gave up. And Lilly documented the whole trip for a school project. In fact we already had a donation from their school come in after a student carried home a flyer in his backpack about our project.

Lilly Bolandrina loading a bike from Massachusetts
"I'm Lilly Bolandrina. I helped Bikes for the Philippines donate bikes for kids and adults in the Philippines. I did this because my dad wanted us to come and see what it is like to go to Virginia and watch him help Keith ( the person who does Bikes for the World) donate these bikes. Bikes for the World helps Bikes for the Philippines. Instead of just watching my dad help I helped as well. I wheeled bikes from the abandoned prison gym to the container that gets shipped to the Philippines. It was very hard because most bikes were very heavy and the wheels would not turn on some.It was really cool to see all the different sized bikes and a couple of tricycles. Some of the bikes also were missing parts so they looked funny. We helped for four hours until we had to leave.

Lilly and Max sealing the container

Then tomorrow we came back again to finish loading the container with bikes. We crammed 501 or 502 bikes into the container . Most of the bikes were mountain bikes and baby bikes. Still, there were some road bikes and quite a lot of young children bikes. On the second day of filling the container we only had to work for two hours. I got to give the very last bike to go inside the container. Then my little brother and I put the little I.D. tag on the container to show that it hasn't been opened yet."

Thank you Lilly, Max, Grethel, and Joe! The next step is traveling to Maribojoc to meet the bike beneficiaries and ride with them. I'm pretty sure I saw Joe marking a bike to be set aside for him to borrow while he is there! It would be a treat to track Plong-Plong's (a long time friend of Joe's) donations as well as bikes the Bolandrina's donated.

Check out Joe's enthusiasm as he donates his older son's first Gary Fisher:

1 comment:

  1. I have volunteered for several Non-Profit Organizations thru the decades but never have I felt such hands high and hands on reward. Plong-Plong is the son of my cousin, and we have cousins that hope to help unload the container in Maribojoc. It seems the feeling is contagious!