2015 Accomplishments

Latino OutdoorsBikes for the World grew in quantity and quality in 2015. Numbers-wise, we expanded collections in the home Washington DC-Baltimore region. We also established satellite efforts in Pittsburgh, Charleston SC, and New York (Long Island), and shipped our first container from NY in October.

But we also focused on getting better at what we do. Improving the quality and value of bikes shipped, increasing the volume and value of spare parts included in each shipment, and obtaining good feedback from our partners were priorities.

We expanded our reach to four new partners, all in Africa: Morocco, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, and Cameroon. These new projects will help farmers produce and market more, health care workers to visit the sick and prevent illness, and students to attend school and study more.

Our bike collections, loading, and opportunities at our Northern Virginia warehouse brought families, friends, colleagues, and strangers together in service. By opening our doors to younger volunteers this year we enabled families to serve together, building strong relationships while making a global humanitarian and environmental impact.

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December '15 Newsletter

December 2015Mobilizing health care workers in rural Africa can be the difference between life and death for many poor Africans. In this edition we take a look at how your old bikes are delivering life saving information, care, and needed medications around the world.

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Mobilizing Heath Care

healthcare AfricaBikes help transfer patients quicker, help transport and distribute drugs needed to treat disease, and allow nurses to cover more sparsely populated areas where the sick are often neglected.

Distance to medical clincs, poor roads, and lack of transportation contribute to poor health choices for many rural Africans. Fewer than 50% of Africans have access to modern medical facilities.Many young mothers choose to sacrifice natal care because of the challenges associated with trying to travel the long distances to clincs.

Traveling nurses often cite long commutes and low pay as the main reason for leaving the medical field. Many rural clinics rely on these qualified health care workers to administer care and monitor illnesses that threaten their communities. When a nurse quits the position, the clinic is forced to close.

Bringing bikes to these affected areas is helping keep those clinics open. Bikes help nurses travel the long distances from their homes, to the clincs, and also to the patients who live the furthest away. Read more about how Bikes for the World supports projects that focus on delivering a health care system that informs and protects an entire community. 

BfW Expansion in NY

Helping young girl to ride in Sierra LeoneBfW shipped its first container from our new New York storage location earlier this month. Working closely with longtime partner Village Bicycle Project, BfW arranged to ship a mixed container of bikes and parts to Sierra Leone to help the program regroup after nearly a year's pause. View photos of this joint effort online.

Village Bicycle Project (VBP) operates in Ghana and Sierra Leone. About five years ago VBP set up a Learn 2 Ride program in Sierra Leone to help students stay in school. VBP focused on education to help rebuild this country after Civil War. But last year the project shut down during the worst of the Ebola outbreak.  VBP resumed this project this summer and our recent mixed parts container will help reboot this effort. Read more about who this project helps.

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Sierra Leone Update

L2R Karim"Twenty five girls at two schools in Lunsar have learned to ride recently in our program there," reported Karim Kamara, Learn 2 Ride (L2R) instructor, back in July 2015. This program is run through BfW partner Village Bicycle Project which operates in Ghana and Sierra Leone. This marked an important step in the program as they got back on their feet after nearly a year of being closed.

Last year the Learn 2 Ride programs and bike library, which loans bicycles to students for school, shut down during the height of the Ebola outbreak. Bike donations from abroad to Sierra Leone halted. Maintenance classes within the country stopped.

Bike riding, however, increased.

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Mirriam Odura

Mirriam Odura "My name is Mirriam Oduro. I am a mechanic."

Mirriam was paralyzed as a young girl living in Koforidua. She is now part of a co-op bike shop called Ability Bikes in Ghana. She is proving what a woman can accomplish and redefining the term 'dis'abled. Bikes for the World is sending our fourth container to this program in October 2015.

Mirriam is 33 years old. She is a mother, daughter, singer, athlete, advocate, role model, mechanic, business owner...simply put, Mirriam is a champion. She is also physically challenged. She is changing attitudes and changing lives.

 "She doesn't seem to be handicapped," says Mirriam's father. She has always wanted to explore, has always been adventurous. He said, "I cannot discourage her from anything." When she puts her mind to something she goes after it.

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Bikes For Education

2 wheels  +  2 pedals  =  4 times faster

Philippines students

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2015 Starley Award

JL StarleyJohnson Lambert LLP was awarded the BfW annual Starley Award for outstanding service and dedication to Bikes for the World and our mission. Johnson and Lambert was recognized for their pro bono work on our audit and IRS forms over the last three years. More than simply making sure that our donors' resources have been properly stewarded - the team's assistance has enabled us to improve our operational efficiency and effectiveness through better financial management and compliance with federal and local jurisdiction.

From Executive Director Keith Oberg, "We are extremely grateful to Johnson Lambert LLP for its support, and in particular to Managing Partner Debbie Lambert and the team members who lent their support and expertise to this effort. Doing pro bono work is a very generous gesture on the part of the company, and is not without considerable costs. To be able to offer these services, the company schedules them during the summer months traditionally the least-pressured season. And while assigning a senior Partner as overall responsible manager, the company also uses the work for staff professional development, as a training and skill-building exercise for younger employees."

Johnson Lambert LLP was also named our volunteer of the month for September.

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Spotlight Costa Rica

lopez family bikesThe Lopez family lives in the rural settlement of Los Jazmines in the canton of Upala near the border of Nicaragua in Costa Rica. Mom, Dad and 8 year-old Kevin all received bikes through BfW in June of 2015.

There are many small villages scattered throughout the country of Costa Rica, many remote, and residents rely on public transportation, which can be expensive, in order to stay connected with the larger communities nearby. Even more Costa Ricans choose to walk which can be tiring and time consuming.

Bikes for the World has been working with local financial group FINCA Costa Rica since 2005 to help bring bikes to these small communities to help better their lives and improve their connections with larger markets where they sell their home-grown products.

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Cycle Recycle Canada

Cycle Recycle CanadaBikes for the World ships 497 bikes out of Canada. Working with the Tiverton Lions Club outside Toronto, BfW representative Bob Evans helped lead this effort to load a container of bikes heading to the Bicycling Empowerment Network in South Africa.

The bikes were collected in Canada over the past year by a large network of Lions Clubs. On July 18, 2015, about a half dozen of those Lions Clubs came together and  loaded this container in just under five hours. This collaborative effort expanded BfW reach beyond our US border.

This was the second container this year loaded and shipped outside our central warehouse location in Arlington VA. The first was last month in Wisconsin, a second effort by Bicycles for Humanity Oregon WI. We also hope to ship a container out of Pittsburgh and Long Island New York within the next year.

Read more about this Canadian shipment heading to South Africa.

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