Bikes for the World

Monday, March 10, 2014

2 Wheels, 1 Bike


Bikes for the World has been working with the long established Village Bicycle Project (VBP) in Ghana, and now Sierra Leone, since we began shipping bikes in 2005.  Since then, we have donated 13,101 bikes to the project. One of our containers shipped late last year just arrived in Accra, Ghana and another is on the way right now. Since 2005 we have donated 28 containers to VBP-Ghana and another 3 to VBP-Sierra Leone.

Once bikes come into VBP's central warehouse location in Accra they are offloaded and reloaded onto trucks that will deliver them to remote villages throughout Ghana. VBP does more than just deliver used bikes, they offer beginner and advanced workshops to new and old bike owners in rural Africa.

This past February they loaded 260 bikes to be delivered among three villages in Ghana's Brong-Ahafo Region, about a day's drive from the warehouse in Accra. Bodaa, Biama, and Asiri all received bikes and training through VBP during this trip.

In Bodaa, 60 people participated in the one-day workshop offered by VBP. Because of their enrollment in the program, participants were able to purchase a bicycle at a significantly discounted price.

In Biama, 40 bikes went to a mix of farmers, teachers, and students. VBP trainers turned each one of these new owners into a mini-repairer, showing them basic bike maintenance and simple repair, like how to remove and replace a front tire and repair a puncture to the tube.

Evelyn Amoah
In the more populated area of Asiri, VBP distributed 160 bikes to new owners. These owners received their bikes along with this one day training class. They were also taught how to ride a bike if they didn't already know. Many young girls do not know how to ride, making this aspect of the workshop essential.VBP knows the importance of empowering a woman with a bike, like new owner Evelyn Amoah who will use her new bike to help transport goods to market from the family farm.

VBP also offers a more in depth advanced mechanics class as part of this rural outreach. Each student learns the more complex skills involved in bike mechanics from a VBP trainer. They are then able to purchase discounted bike tools that will enable them to help maintain the bikes in the community. Some participants in the advanced mechanic class in Bodaa actually received their bikes through the VBP one-day four years ago. Check back tomorrow for more on the mechanics trained in this project...

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