Bikes for the World

Monday, June 6, 2016

Boys Will Be Boys

Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) began as a way to engage and educate some of the most under-served residents of Barbados. Situated on the border of the Pinelands community, PCW was poised to make a difference and change lives for the better.

PCW's initial efforts mainly included a focus on theatre and the arts. In this way, the organization was able to enlist the community to participate in productions while exploring topics of the day in a unique and engaging way.

Since its beginning in the seventies, PCW has undergone many transformations over the decades to include skills and life training programs for many residents in the community. They now offer computer classes, self defense classes, career preparedness programs, life skills activities, and summer youth camps in addition to their original focus on arts and sports.

In 2005, PCW added bike mechanics to that growing list of training options. By partnering with Bikes for the World, PCW also added a little capital to the program. After fixing up our donated bikes, PCW sold refurbished bikes at a low cost to the community which helped fund their growing Meals on Wheels program.

More notably, this newly added bike program helped make PCW much more relevant by adding an important development platform for youth. Boys were lining up to join this program, earn a little pocket money, learn about bikes, and gain experience using tools while learning a skill.

Zidane, Michausa, Nathaniel, and Stephen
Zidane, Michausa, and Nathaniel joined the bike program a couple years ago. They are trained by Ronald and Stephen who see the program has much more to offer than just revenue generated to help fund programs:

There are softer and more long term benefits for the young men we work with. They learn about respect for people and property, about managing time and finishing a job in the best way they can, they learn about conflict resolution and they learn to take pride in their work and after all the work is done they feel proud to see a person walk out with a bike that they worked on.

Danny at work
Before boys had this outlet at PCW, Ronald says he often saw fights breaking out between the adolescents. Now they can direct their energy into something more productive. 

Danny’s mom was especially impressed with her son’s enthusiasm and dedication during the time he was with the bicycle initiative; she confessed that he was excited about going to work and that his new-found responsibility infected the rest of his life. He was more active at home and around the house and he was ready and willing to take on new tasks. It was like the experience matured him, he was a “serious” young man.

Friday, June 3, 2016

From Wheels To Meals

Supporting diverse programs is one of the ways Bikes for the World is able to affect so many lives around the world in a multitude of ways. Our bike project provides affordable transportation, creates jobs, encourages education, and supports adult and youth programs beyond just bikes.

One of our main criteria for partners receiving bikes is that the project or organization is sustainable. Because our donated bikes are shipped 'as is' many of them are in need of repair and/or parts when they arrive. A majority of our partner organizations provide training and actual mechanic jobs to disadvantaged community members who fix and maintain these donated bikes, creating jobs to help support their families.

Bikes are then sold at a low cost to residents within the community who are in need of valuable transportation. Money generated through the program helps support the mechanics and project. More often than not, the surplus revenue is reinvested in the organization which in turn benefits the entire community.

In Barbados, our bike program is helping to support many aspects of Pinelands Creative Workshop. Funds generated through the bike project have helped offset administrative and program costs within the organization. PCW itself focuses on positive change within the community of Pinelands. Programs focused on the arts such as theatre, dance and music provide an educational, creative outlet for youth after school. Additionally, PCW offers career training, professional and undergraduate education, and general support to its struggling neighbors.

Sophia Greaves-Broome, Special Projects Director with the Marcus Garvey Resource and Development Centre (MGRDC) the Training Arm of the PCW states, “The bicycle project has allowed the MGRDC to deliver quality and relevant programs at the community level responding to expressed needs of over 3000 residents who can be categorized as either unemployed, underemployed, unskilled, vulnerable and/or living in poverty.  Furthermore the injection of support has added considerable social value to the community and the empowerment of beneficiaries."

One such program supported through the bike project in Barbados is the Meals on Wheels program, which provides meals to elderly, shut-ins, and disabled individuals in and around the Pine. With funds generated by bicycle sales, PCW is able to pay cooks, purchase disposable food containers, and contribute to the overall cost of running the vehicles to collect and provide food.

Shelly Durant-Forde, Financial Manager of PCW had this to say, “While funding is received through other projects the bicycle project is the only project that has been consistent and dependable . Many days we have been able to provide lunch, bus-fare, gas, school books or some small contributions to persons in the community who had nowhere else to turn but the doors of the Workshop.  Without the bicycle project this would be impossible."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Educating and Uplifting a Community Through Art

The Pinelands Creative Workshop program in Barbados was one of the original Bikes for the World partners. We started shipping to this organization in May of 2005 when we first formed as BfW. Since then we have donated over 11,000 bikes to help support the efforts of this community focused group. This month we will load our 24th container of bikes for Barbados.

 “We wanted theatre to be able to reflect the issues of our people. We were using theatre for a purpose – to educate, entertain and inform," Rodney Grant Director Pinelands Creative Workshop, Barbados.

Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) was first established in the mid 70s and has grown and adapted over the years to meet the needs of the community it serves. That community, affectionately known as "The Pines", lies two miles east of Bridgetown, the capital and largest city on the island. 

While Barbados itself is the wealthiest of the east Caribbean islands, the Pinelands is actually the largest low income community in Barbados. The community consists of mainly under-skilled young people and is characterized by high levels of unemployment. At one time, The Pines was viewed by many as a community with no future.

PCW was created to introduce a creative and productive outlet to a community mired in this negative perception. Phase one focused on cultural productions aimed at teaching and engaging the community.  Over the years they added sporting activities and eventually morphed into an even more productive organization by expanding their range of activities, which included the bike workshop BfW now supports. 

Today's PCW operates around its strong cultural development work which in turn provides cultural, commercial, economic, and social skills training to the community it continues to serve.

Rodney Grant has been with PCW for over 40 years now and was instrumental in its evolution into the organization it is today. By first telling the story of how Rodney came to PCW is essentially outlining the program's first success story.

“I would never forget one Sunday morning when Michael Newton caught me. He used to go and fix tyres and he saw me and told me to come with him. He put me on his motorcycle and took me down to Roebuck Street to fix some tyres with him. From then he developed an interest in me and used to let me tag along with him wherever he went. By tagging along with Michael, I kind of shifted my focus from doing negative things and tried to focus on community development and planning,” Grant said.

Michael ran the Pinelands Social Cultural Youth Group and reached out to a young Rodney who was on the cusp of straying down the wrong path. Michael signed Rodney up for the soccer team and introduced him to the positive change outreach could have on a community.

Rodney incorporated this into a life calling and helped form PCW a few years later. Through its original focus on dance, theatre, and arts, PCW has educated and uplifted a community in desperate need of hope. The organization continued to grow over the years to expand education programs, provide micro-business training, and even generate employment. The Pinelands community continues on its path of recovery using the resources from its uplifted residents thanks to the efforts of Rodney and Pinelands Creative Workshop.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Featured Volunteer: #CEBGivesBack

May marks a favorite month around Bikes for the World and it's not because it's Bike Month. For one week in May CEB, a best practice insight and technology company based in Rosslyn, trades keyboards and cell phones for wrenches and cans of WD40 to join us in the warehouse for some sweat, smiles, and manual labor. They claim BfW is an employee favorite and it's no secret the feeling is mutual.

This is the third year CEB and BfW partnered up for what is now known as CEB's Global Impact Week. For one week employees give back to their communities by engaging in community service projects around the world. In 2014 we scheduled one day with CEB, but it was so popular in 2015 they asked to do more. We signed them up for three days last year and this year we stretched it to four!

During their tenure with us, CEB employees have loaded five containers of bikes heading to partners in Costa Rica, Kenya, Barbados, Ghana, and El Salvador. CEB helped us donate 2,363 bikes to these diverse projects stretching across the world. During their service with us, they also helped prep hundreds of bikes for future shipments.

Last year  CEB assisted in loading a container that was donated to Costa Rican partner MiBici, part of FINCA Costa Rica. That shipment of bikes was delivered to Upala in northern Costa Rica.

FINCA Costa Rica helps deliver our large shipments of bikes to many small communities all over the country, sometimes splitting up the containers to serve many community groups per shipment. Because of the proximity to the coast and beaches, all of our beach cruisers, which are very popular in Costa Rica, are saved and sent to this group.

This almost new red cruiser, loaded by CEB, was delivered to Yorleny and Pedro. They also got a bike for their eight year old son Kevin. Yorleny now rides to school with her son saving the family a lot of time.

This year's CEB crew first loaded a container for Village Bicycle Project in Ghana then moved on to a second destined for CESTA El Salvador. We loaded 911 bikes during CEB's Global Impact Week.

Nearly 4,000 CEB staff members provided support to charitable organizations in 87 cities spanning 29 countries around the world during this year's annual Global Impact Week. As part of the enterprise-wide community service program, CEB employees collectively dedicated approximately 18,500 volunteer hours throughout the week.
About CEB:
CEB is a best practice insight and technology company. In partnership with leading organizations around the globe, we develop innovative solutions to drive corporate performance. CEB equips leaders at more than 10,000 companies with the intelligence to effectively manage talent, customers, and operations. CEB is a trusted partner to nearly 90% of the Fortune 500 and FTSE 100, and more than 70% of the Dow Jones Asian Titans. More at