As soon as a Bikes for the World container hits the ground overseas its impact on the community is immediate. From unloading bikes, to recording inventory, and especially repairing and rebuilding bikes by a skilled mechanic, the arrival of the container first and foremost generates jobs.
In Guinea-Bissau our container directly affected seven established bike repairers who were called upon by Global Fairness Initiative to help refurbish the bikes donated through BfW in 2015.
Bacar Mamudu is 65 years old and has been repairing bikes for the past 16 years. His bike business boomed when our bikes arrived in need of repair. Bacar charged for repairs and offered his services on loan to villagers who could not pay upfront.
Bacar was thrilled to see so many bikes coming into the community, "Now I receive so many more bikes per month in need of repair. This has had a positive impact on my monthly income." Bacar went on to say he was learning many new skills working on the bikes which are different than other bikes he's seen in the past.
Famta Fati is a member of the local farming association APALCOF. She purchased one of the bikes donated to APALCOF last year through BfW. Now that Famta has a bicycle she is able to commute to her horticulture farm much faster than when she was traveling by foot.
Previously Famta walked several miles a day in the sweltering sun just to get to and from her field. After working all day in her crops, without shade, she often felt worn out and less productive.
She now reports having more time in the fields and at home not to mention more energy to do her work. She feels much healthier and less stressed. She is also using the bike to help transport her produce to a roadside market.
Maimuna Blade dropped out of school before graduating, but is working toward saving enough money to go back to continue her education. She purchased a bike from APALCOF which she uses for work, errands, and social activities.
"My bike encourages me to work harder not only to go back to school, but also in carrying on other community activities which are far apart."
Maimuna works on her family's agricultural farm and uses her bike to collect fire wood and carry animal feed to the farm. She is able to save twice as much money now that she has a bicycle, making her dream of returning to school within reach.