BfW Visits Panama

Keith in PanamaDonated bikes provide training to individuals with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds through our partnership with Goodwill Panama.

BfW visited Goodwill Panama in September 2014 to get a better sense of how the program is going and what we can do to improve the shipments to Panama. During our visit we met with the board and staff at Goodwill Panama. We spoke with several bike mechanics and also met with a few of our bike beneficiaries. Learn how a bike is helping a local bricklayer save time and earn more for his family.

Bike use in Panama is largely a recreational activity. Bikes that are donated to Goodwill Panama are reconditioned in their shop and sold to the public in the storefront. Bike sales, in turn, help fund the metal program that also teaches bike mechanics. Many participants in the program continue through the tiers to welding, learning skills that will help provide a decent income for their families.

You can learn more about the bike project on our blog.

 

King Farm Update

King Farm barn
It is with great sadness that we announce the closing of the Bikes for the World facility at King Farm in Rockville. For the last two years Bikes for the World has operated a weekly Thursday night volunteer night at our warehouse at the King Farm Farmstead in Rockville.

We recently received word from the City of Rockville that we would need to vacate the barn where our Maryland centered activities have taken place since 2007. The following is an announcement from Bikes for the World Executive Director Keith Oberg:

This ends a seven-year tenure during which Bikes for the World operated the Rockville Youth Bike Project (RYBP) out of two of the farm buildings- the hay barn and a tenant cottage- and stored and dispatched more than 25,000 bicycles around the world, from local recipients such as the nearby Montgomery County temporary workers' center, to institutions and individuals in places like Ghana, Mozambique, and Uganda.

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Supporting Local Youth Programs

phoenix bikes newsSupporting local bike organizations is an important part of Bikes for the World. From Phoenix Bikes in Arlington VA to St. Louis Bicycle Works in MO, BfW is always looking to expand local donations right here in our own backyard.

Recently, we have donated 10-100 bikes to new projects brought to our attention by other local partners, such as the Waldorf Kiwanis who brought us together with a Kentucky church providing bikes to area youth.

You can read more about these smaller local donations on our blog. You can also find more information about the larger donations to domestic earn-a-bike projects, like Phoenix Bikes, here as well.

FINCA Costa Rica Breakdown

FINCA Costa Rica businessFundación Integral Campesina (FINCA Costa Rica) is one of Bikes for the World's most effective overseas partners. Over the years, BfW has donated over 18,000 bikes to this Costa Rican partner.

BfW Director Keith Oberg described the program in detail on our blog last month. Essentially this program acts as a micro-credit program, supporting local entrepreneurs in rural areas of this Central American country.

The container of bikes donated by BfW is split into five groups containing about 100 bikes apiece. Each allotment of bikes is valued and converted into a loan. The groups bring the bikes and any available parts back to their respective communities, where they re-assemble and recondition the bikes as necessary. The bikes are then sold in these rural areas to repay the loan.

See a list of all our current global projects.

Village Bicycle Project Promotes Local Business

Adimadim Suhum District student with Cadbury bikeBikes for the World has been working with African based partner Village Bicycle Project since our start in 2005. Since then we have donated 31 containers, or 14,530 bicycles to the project. Recently we started shipping to VBP in Sierra Leone where a majority of their work has been focused on training women both in riding skills and as mechanics.

In Ghana, VBP sends out about 200 bikes at a time to remote areas inland to small villages that don't even appear on the map. Once there, trainers engage locals in various workshops. The introductory class teaches participants how to ride and basic techniques to care for a bike. During the program they can purchase a used bike at a very low cost.

More advanced classes are also offered where bike owners can learn more complex mechanic skills. At the end of this workshop, participants can purchase specific bike related tools, also at a very low cost.

Throughout the program VBP promotes local bike businesses by inviting the mechanics to take part, training them further, offering them tools, and encouraging new bike owners to let them handle the bigger repairs.

Wheels of Africa Delivers

Wheels of Africa 2013 updateBikes for the World has over a dozen beneficiary partners worldwide. Each one of the programs we support is unique in how the bikes are helping their communities. We support a micro-finance project, school projects, community led bike shops, welding training programs, the list goes on and on.

Wheels of Africa is our partner in Kenya working out of Nairobi. They have partnered with Tour d'Afrique to connect with several non-profits working with students, healthcare workers, caregivers, and patients to provide affordable transportation needed in their every day lives.

Wheels of Africa also worked with BfW partner, BEN Namibia to help create locally owned and operated bike shops. Wheels of Africa trained mechanics to run these shops and also shared entreprenuer skills to ensure the shops are successful. The stock used and sold in these shops is supplied by container donations from organizations like Bikes for the World. Partnerships with Capital Bikeshare in DC and Citi Bike in NY who have donated cases of used parts and tires to BfW have greatly increased the value of our containers, especially to groups like Wheels of Africa, who supply local bike shops with bikes and parts.

Continue reading on our blog...

 

 

2013 Year-In-Review

2013 snapshot thumb2013 was a great year for Bikes for the World. We shipped over 13,500 bikes to a dozen partners around the world. We met new volunteers and donors and reconnected with some groups we've worked with for years. We asked them questions that ranged from why they donate to what they get out of the experience.

We also added a few new bike beneficiary partners this past year in countries we currently serve as well as a few new countries. We also asked them similar questions. We heard from new bike owners, individuals who gained employment because of the bike program, and people behind the scenes of those organizations.

To learn more about the work we've done locally and overseas, please check out our 2013 Snapshot. 

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Recycle Bicycle

Recycle Bicycle HarrisburgRecycle Bicycle in Harrisburg is a community run bike shop that recycles hundreds of bikes in Harrisburg and neighboring counties.

Recycle Bicycle recently opened their shop to Bikes for the World, took us to their overflowing parts room and encouraged us to fill our buckets. Nothing was off limits, in fact we were instructed to take anything we needed as long as we left 'something' on the shelf.

We left with a truck load of brakes, derailleurs, wheels, handlebars, forks, even a few bikes. Most of these parts will be included in our next shipment to Village Bicycle Project in Ghana where they will be used to keep our donated bikes in good working condition.

Find out more about Recycle Bicycle in Harrisburg.

A Promising New Partnership


Bikes For Honduras  thru Gildan Bikes for the World has partnered with Gildan Activewear in an effort to bring bikes to Honduras.

Bikes for the World hopes to send its first container of bikes to our newest partner, Fundacion Adelante in Honduras by the end of the year. This project 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.

This means the bulk of the bikes collected will come from the Carolinas, both North and South, under the supervision and guidance of Bikes for the World in our effort to expand nationally. Honduras was chosen as the recipient country due to the presence of Gildan factories in that country.

 

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Bikes for the World Goes To Mozambique

Hirabai ChildFund International
ChildFund International joined forces with Bikes for the World to help supply bicycles to students in Mozambique as part of their Dream Bikes project initiative in several countries around the world. BfW shipped an initial container of 500 bikes to Mozambique in September 2013.

Hirabai, seen here, received her Atlas bicycle through ChildFund International in India. This bike is helping Hirabai traverse the long, dangerous road to school. She has dreams of becoming a police officer once she graduates from college.

Keeping kids in school is one of the most productive investments that a society can make. Recognizing this premise, Bikes for the World provides students at risk of dropping out the means - in the form of a bicycle - to arrive at school on time, refreshed, and with time savings, thus enabling them to study more, do chores at home, and stay in school.

Read more on The Power of a Girl and Her Bike.

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