Bikes for the World

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

B.I.G. Shipment

Steve Frantzich and Keith Oberg
That is a bit of an overstatement so to speak. This B.I.G. shipment of bikes is actually rather S.M.A.L.L. in Bikes for the World speak.

Early in March we had the opportunity to stash about 50 bikes in a container bound for Cameroon. This is on the western side of Africa somewhat close to Ghana. Cameroon is a country BfW has not yet sent bikes to and we were interested in learning more about the process.

We partnered with a local non-profit out of Annapolis called B.I.G.- Books for International Goodwill which is sponsored by the Parole Rotary. Steve Frantzich, seen above, is the Director of Books for International Goodwill. They left us just enough room to throw in a few dozen bikes with their book shipment to Cameroon.

School kids in Philippines need books AND bikes.
"Spreading Literacy by Keeping Books Alive." It's a simple motto held by B.I.G. They accept used book donations and recycle them for productive use by those who need books for schools and libraries to improve literacy in developing communities around the world.

Sound familiar? We often find other local non-profits with missions aligned with our own at Bikes for the World where we recycle used bikes and help put them in the hands of those who need them to improve their lives getting to work or school. If there is an opportunity for our two organizations to work together to bring much needed resources to developing countries we do what we can.

In fact, this is the second time we partnered with the Parole Rotary shipping books, that's BOOKS not just bikes, to Africa. In 2006 we shared a container, half with bikes half with books, with B.I.G. In that shipment Bikes for the World donated 240 bikes to The Gambia.

This time those donated bikes will be received by Chin Idirisu Medorni the CEO of the Cameroon Education Foundation. From Chin:
"I am really happy about your willingness to donate to us up to 50 bikes. This is great! Since I mostly work in rural Cameroon my plan was to donate this bikes to rural school where access to motor vehicles is not easy and at times poor roads and it is not even easy to use foot paths. Most of the North west region of Cameroon is hilly mixed with undulating landscapes and such bikes that have gears are good for this reason.
We shall use the very truck transporting the books from Douala to Kumbo to transport the bikes."
Bikes for the World will learn from this project how easy it is to get bikes into the country, how easily it is to get bikes to NW Cameroons who need them, how appropriate the bike are, and what spare parts or differing bikes they may need in the future.

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