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.

 

A few words about Fundacion Adelante

Shop owner in HondurasAdelante's model is very similar to the program Bikes for the World supports in Costa Rica under FINCA. In fact, Adelante works with underprivileged individuals in rural Honduras, mostly women, to help improve their quality of life and that of their families. The organization is a micro-finance provider offering short term loans of between $25-50 -- which are paid back in full, with interest -- to help Hondurans establish and sustain small businesses such as food stands and tortillas sales.

The loans are largely meant to help move women out of poverty by empowering them to help themselves. Adelante's main focus, in addition to immediately improving the quality of life for these individuals, is to instill long-term change within the community. Reaching out to moms remains their main goal, as they recognize this as the way to instill change in children.

Bikes donated through Bikes for the World will act like a 'loan' through Fundacion Adelante. Adelante will select individuals who will receive a set number of bikes to refurbish and sell to then repay the agreed upon 'loan' amount.

Honduras is labeled as the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Many struggling rural Hondurans have many children, may be single mothers, have limited education, and are living hand to mouth. These are the people Adelante makes an effort to reach.

A vision to succeed

Every business venture needs a clearly defined vision. Adelante works with potential borrowers to set up their own business models. Often, several people will band together to take out one loan, needing to trust the others.

Adelante then instills the following values in the budding entrepreneurs: unity, discipline, work, and courage. All parties signing for the loan are jointly responsible for paying back the loan on time and must therefore work together to achieve their goals. The groups meet regularly to report their progress.

Meet Marlena

Marlena is a single mother living in La Masica. She joined with several other women in the area to take out a loan with Adelante. Marlena's goal was to make and sell tortillas with corn she intended to buy with the money from the loan.

Marlena was able to buy a small amount of corn to start her business through this loan. She sells tortillas right out of her home, but uses a bike to get the corn home from the market. Bikes are a valuable resource in rural Honduras, where a majority of people walk to get to work and school.

Gildan's involvement

One of the marketing directors at Gildan, a leading supplier of quality branded basic family apparel, including T-shirts, fleece, sports shirts, socks and underwear recently approached Bikes for the World to find out how they could get involved to help bring bikes to Honduras. Gildan is the largest private employer in Honduras and one of Gildan's driving goals is "to be part of projects with organizations whose mission is in line with the Company's community engagement objectives.

Gildan Activewear

Gildan is a socially responsible and environmentally conscious company. In 2012 they recycled 87% of their waste company-wide. They also give back to the communities where they operate by funding a number of initiatives and promoting employee volunteering. They have provided scholarships and assisted in various school renovations in countries such as Haiti, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. You can learn more about their various initiatives in these communities on their website.

THonduras bikeshe project

Together Bikes for the World and Gildan will collect, store, and ship several hundred bikes to Adelante in Honduras by 2014. With Gildan's help and resources, Bikes for the World is now expanding south to make this initiative possible.

Keith Whitaker, Marketing Director at Gildan, is leading the effort by first holding a collection at Gildan's Branded Apparel Division headquarters, located in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also talking with other groups in the community, hoping to collect bikes from various sources in South Carolina.

The bikes collected in South Carolina, and through a school's effort in North Carolina, will be combined to make this shipment possible. This is the first time Bikes for the World will be responsible for shipping a container from the Carolinas, and we are excited about it. Gildan will assist with the transportation to Honduras, where the bikes will be given a new life and new purpose.

 

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