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For (and from) the Girls

Strong women get things done. This is something we know well around Bikes for the World, but if there was any question, just take a look at our most recent shipment currently on its way to Madagascar. From the time the container was dropped off (by a woman!) to the time it is unloaded, sorted, inventoried, and its contents redistributed, the bikes donated this month will have passed through many female hands. This is a nod to those strong and powerful women behind many of our shipments...this one just stood out a little bit more.

It all started at Calvert School in Baltimore which was organized by two determined teachers, Sarah and Timika. They started the wheels turning and recruited students, like Zoe and Zoe, yes two Zoeies :) to help us compact the bikes for the shipment. In this case, the two lifelong friends worked together, using tools and getting greasy, to make transporting the bikes easier for Bikes for the World. Training alongside, Yvette, they learned about leverage and position and found they were capable of moving even the rustiest of parts.

Speaking of rusty parts....Back in the warehouse, the Social Action crew from Stone Ridge (all-girls school!) was busy disassembling bikes and saving the usable parts which they also packed up for our shipment. These valuable parts are helpful to the mechanics receiving your old bikes so they can get them back up and rolling again. 

This year's Social Action crew is made up 14 girls and one of the faculty members overseeing their progress is J. She started with us as a student and is now back as a teacher and impactful mentor. And even though this is a post about the girls involved with this shipment, we can't mention Social Action without giving a nod to the other two teachers, Tom and Ken. They are an important part of the family, much like James from Derry Girls, we just see them as Stone Ridge Girls.

As it turns out, Stone Ridge was also here the day we loaded the container. After the container was dropped by a woman truck driver, Yvette joked that she felt pressure to lead the loading. She said, I won't, but I do feel the urge. About 10 minutes later, four and half boxes into loading the spare parts, the Ops Manager, Todd tweaked his back. With Taylor out and Todd limited, Yvette was indeed called into action, but only after Stone Ridge did a majority of the loading.  Five third levels later Yvette climbed out of the container, spent; "well that was a first," she joked.

The container was then taken to the port of Baltimore where it waited for the ship to sail, so to speak. It is now on the way to the health focused project located in the northern part of Madagascar. After our last container to Madagascar experienced a two month delay because of shipping backlogs, our fingers are crossed this one will arrive just after the first of the year.

The co-op receiving the shipment will then unload the bikes and inventory everything we donated. They will reassemble the bikes and give them a quick tune up before getting them out to communities members who will use them for errands, such as going to market and fetching water. Many of the members involved in the process are also women. 

This project was created as an incentive to volunteer health workers who travel great distances to see patients. The revenue generated through the sale of bikes helps fund health initiatives and health insurance for its members. Many of the patients seen by the healthcare workers in the program are new moms and their babies. 

New opportunities are created for women as soon as our bikes hit the ground. They are employed to help unload the truck. Some are trained and work as mechanics. Some work in the bike shop running the business or selling bikes. Some are simply new mothers receiving care to keep their newborns well and healthy. All experience positive change because of your bike donation. 

Here at home, your financial contributions help us introduce young women to volunteerism and give them a chance to work collaboratively on all facets of our mission. Bikes for the World is simply the bridge from one group of women to another. Together they are joining forces, empowering other women, and changing the world- you know, what women do.

Featured Volunteer: Alex Can Tsarouhas
Featured Volunteer: Thom McKinney