Bikes for the World

Monday, October 7, 2013

¿Qué es una meta?

Courtesy Adelante
Bikes for the World is set to send a container of bikes to Fundacion Adelante in Honduras later this year. This shipment will be made possible in part thanks to the support of our newest corporate partner, Gildan Activewear , whose Branded Apparel division headquarters are based out of South Carolina.

Adelante works with the poorest individuals, mostly women, in rural Honduras to help improve the quality of life for them and their families. Adelante provides short term loans to help establish and sustain small businesses such as food stands and tortillas sales.

Adelante's model is very similar to the program Bikes for the World supports in Costa Rica under FINCA. Adelante is a micro-finance provider lending an average loan of between $25-50 which is paid back in full with interest.

Children in Atlantida Courtesy Adelante
The loans are largely meant to help move women out of poverty by empowering them to help themselves. Honduras is labeled as the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Many struggling rural Hondurans have many children, may be single mothers, have limited education, and are living hand to mouth. These are the potential clients Adelante reaches out to.

Adelante's main focus, in addition to immediately improving the quality of life for this population, is also to instill long term change within the community. Reaching children remains their main goal and they know the way to do that is through moms.

Marlena Courtesy Adelante
¿Qué es una meta? Every business venture needs a clear defined vision. Adelante works with potential borrowers to set up their own business models, stressing one major goal, una meta, from the start. Often, several people will band together to take out one loan, each needing to trust the other.

Adelante then instills the following values in the budding entrepreneurs: Unity, Discipline, Work, and Courage. All parties signing for the loan are jointly responsible for paying back the loan on time. The group meets regularly to report their progress.
Meet Marlena. Marlena is a single mother living in La Masica. She joined with several other women in the area to take out a loan with Adelante. Marlena's goal was to make and sell tortillas with corn she intended to buy with the money from the loan.

Marlena was able to buy a small portion of corn to start her business through this loan. She sells tortillas right out of her home, but as you can see, she uses a bike to get the corn home from the market.
Bikes are a valuable resource in rural Honduras where a majority of people walk to get to work and school. Bikes for the World works with a local group called Art for Humanity to bring small quantities of bikes into the country. What we learned from this effort is: it's often hard to get much needed resources into the country.

So when one of the marketing directors at Gildan,  a leading supplier of quality branded basic family apparel, including T-shirts, fleece, sports shirts, socks and underwear, approached us about bikes for Honduras we were all ears. Turns out Gildan is the largest private employer in Honduras. And Gildan had una meta, one goal, to establish major charitable partnerships with organizations whose mission is in line with Gildan's community involvement objectives. 

Turns out Gildan is also a socially responsible, environmentally conscious company. Just last year they recycled 87% of their waste company-wide. They also give back to their communities where they operate by funding a number of initiatives and promoting employee volunteering. They have provided scholarships and assisted in various school renovations in countries such as Haiti, Barbados, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. And now they will be helping to provide bikes to families and workers in Honduras.

Courtesy Adelante
The vision: together Bikes for the World and Gildan could collect, store, and ship several hundred bikes to Adelante in Honduras by the end of the year. With Gildan's help and resources, Bikes for the World is now expanding south to make this initiative a go.

Keith Whitaker, that market director we just told you about, is leading the effort by first holding a collection at Gildan's Branded Apparel Division headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also talking with other groups in the community, hoping to organize several more bike collections in the coming months. 

Bikes collected in North and  South Carolina will be combined for this one goal, providing affordable transportation to rural Hondurans while supporting the micro-finance program currently in place. Once we have enough bikes in Carolina, Gildan will assist in loading them onto a returning container, typically heading back to Honduras empty. The bike shipment will be sent directly to the Caribbean coast, where Gildan is based and the efforts of Adelante are most greatly felt.

Donate your bikes in South Carolina October 21-25. Check our website for details.

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