Our first container load of 2017 went to Sierra Leone and was received and distributed earlier this spring. Just like the bike workshops we told you about in Ghana, bikes distributed in Sierra Leone followed the same structure. Participants are often selected by community leaders and take part in a one day workshop where they learn how to properly clean and maintain their bikes. They are also taught riding skills and safety in this workshop.
Here 20 farmers and 5 students joined VBP and learned essential bike care in the program. At the end all were awarded a bike through the program. The residents of the town are still dependent on motor boat transportation to and from the island but the new bicycles will better allow them to travel around the island and access their farms.
Community organizer Justin explained, "Education is one of the challenging issues in this community. We only have one secondary school. Some students have to walk nine miles, that's 18 miles round trip- five hours of walking every day. A lot of students drop out of school."
|VBP ED Joshua Poppel and Magdelene|
VBP has been back to St. John's several times already this year. In June VBP reported this, "a new shipment is now on its way to deliver hundreds of bicycles to Binkolo Village, Sierra Leone. When they arrive, our staff will help distribute the bikes to students and adults, some will be used in our mechanic training and others in our learn-to-ride programs."