This is Yirlania, Adrian and her daughter. They signed up to receive 83 bikes from our latest shipment to MiBici. They live in the City of Cortes in the Brunca region of Costa Rica. Yirlania owns a small shop where she also sells meals on request. Adrian is a music teacher and also helps out in his wife's shop. Together they will manage the small bike business set up in the Empresa de Credito El Pozo.
Brunca is the most recent region in Costa Rica to receive bikes from MiBici donated through Bikes for the World. Brunca is located in the southwest pocket of the country. Our bike containers come into the port of Limon on the Atlantic side of Costa Rica although there is no direct route to the Brunca region. In the past the inland costs to transport large quantities of bikes to this area have been too prohibitive to make this feasible.
In 2018 FINCA Costa Rica, the parent arm of MiBici, reevaluated the mission and effectiveness of its bike program on the communities it serves. The hope was to deliver more bikes to more regions while lowering the cost. Looking back they examined one of the more remote projects in Coroma, Costa Rica for thoughts and inspiration. When they arrived, they found several of the bike beneficiaries there no longer had working bikes.
Gorge Lopez received a bicycle in 2012 and was featured in the Washington Post story following the trek of bikes donated through Bikes for the World. Gorge used his bike to help commute between banana fields while he was working as a farmer. He saved a lot of time traveling by bike and was able to cover much more ground than he could by foot. He also used his bike to get closer to his family both figuratively and literally.
Gorge now works as a security guard at a local school and does a little farming on the side. He was sad to report that his bike had been stolen recently while he was playing soccer. He would like to save up enough money to buy another bike the next time a supply of bicycles comes into his co-op.
MiBici has set a goal of reaching all six regions of Costa Rica every year with a supply of bicycles. In this way they hope to spread out their bike shipments across the entire country on a regular basis. They are working now to identify interested micro-entrepreneurs within the Empresas de Credito (EC or Co-op) who would be responsible for fixing bikes, selling the bikes within the community and setting up loans, and teaching basic skills and maintenance courses to the new bike owners.
Within each of the six regions, ten micro-entrepreneurs will be selected to receive 50 bikes annually. This model will help ensure a regular supply of bikes and parts comes to every community served by MiBici every year. The goal is to also help train bike mechanics who will be on hand throughout the year to do any necessary repairs on the bikes in the community.
The Empresa de Credito is going to focus on providing micro loans to promote activities and projects like MiBici. In FINCA we want to promote that projects like MiBici can be developed by micro-entrepreneurs with the help of the Empresas de Credito.Luis Jimenez Director MiBici
When FINCA visited Coroma they also checked in on Odily, who was also featured in the Post's story about our bikes. We recently shared her story with you about how she used her bike to commute to school and is now away at college. Her bike, however, has been stripped for parts after it broke from years of use. All that remains is the frame.
MiBici was created to solve this breakdown in the project. Now, with a focused project like MiBici, mechanics will be identified within the community to deal with every day wear and tear on the bikes and hopefully keep them running for years to come.
With regular shipments to every region, every community, the Empresas can also budget and plan for their next shipments which is good for any business! PS: if you live in the DC area, do the math- six regions, a container a year, 500 bikes a container, that's 3,000 bikes a year...and Bikes for the World is the sole supplier....so DONATE YOUR BIKES TODAY!
I am thrilled to read that my Trek 8000 is on its way to Costa Rica. I am a retired Spanish professor and teacher who has spent time in Costa Rica, and I love the country and its citizens, "los ticos". To know that I am helping someone there have greater opportunities with my former bike elates me. Thank you for the important work you do to make this planet a more just one.Jan B. Bike Donor