Send your old bike on a new journey… to Malawi, Africa!
Give your old bike a new life in the hands of a healthcare worker! Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) will be accepting bike donations at 9 convenient collection points across Ottawa during a week-long drive from May 30th to June 4th.
A bicycle, one of the simplest transport technologies, is affordable and can be maintained anywhere in the world with minimal tools and spare parts. Yet for the world’s poorest people, living on $2 per day, even bicycles are beyond their reach. Meanwhile, in the western world we discard thousands of bicycles each year. Simply put – unused bicycles in garages or basements can make an incredible difference to those in need of transportation – such bicycles represent a terrific opportunity to change the lives of those less fortunate.
This year, Bicycles for Humanity is looking for the support of the Ottawa/Gatineau community to help improve the lives of communities across Malawi. Through a partnership with Africycle, B4H will contribute to a significant program which aims to strengthen rural transport and improve access to healthcare – a 40ft shipping container packed with 400 donated bicycles, spare parts and tools will be shipped to Zomba, Malawi into the hands of volunteer healthcare workers.
In much of Malawi, healthcare services such as preventive education, treatment, medication and diagnostics are delivered by foot or by bicycle, as this is often the only way to access most communities. These services help families with critical healthcare needs while alleviating overwhelmed medical facilities – but the effective delivery of these services relies heavily on the mobility of volunteer healthcare workers. The bikes sent from Ottawa/Gatineau will help build the capacity of these volunteers by enabling them to reach communities much faster and more frequently, providing enhanced support that can give communities the boost they need in combating deadly sickness and disease.
Since 2007, B4H has shipped 5 containers of bikes, almost 2000 bicycles, to rural communities in Namibia and Malawi and established sustainable community-based bike shops called Bicycle Empowerment Centers (BECs) benefiting initiatives focused on orphan care, HIV/AIDS outreach, healthcare and women’s empowerment.
B4H is looking for adult-sized mountain and hybrid bikes in working condition (24” and 26” wheels). As the bikes will be used in rural communities with mostly dirt roads and paths, bicycles with wide tires are most suitable for the terrain. Donations of bike tools, repair & patch kits, inner tubes, tires seats, and locks (with keys) are also welcome. Donations to help with the transport costs of the bikes are appreciated. Please note that children’s bikes, frames without wheels, and racing bikes with thin tires are not suitable for this project.
Nine (9) Ottawa/Gatineau car dealers, have graciously offered their facilities as drop-off points for greater convenience to donors. “It gives us the opportunity to help out on this very worthwhile effort. It is truly a grassroots voluntary project which is changing the lives of some of the poorest people on this planet.” says John May of Jack May Pontiac Buick GMC.
Once the bike drive is over, Tallman Truck Centre will contribute their services and equipment to transport the bikes to the B4H warehouse facility generously provided by Carp Self Storage. The bikes will be prepared for transport and loaded into the container in September, for a 3 month journey to Malawi.