Jeric Margate is a student, bike rider, mechanic, mentor, and leader. And all were made possible through Bikes for the Philippines (BfP) and Jeric's teacher, Ritchie Adanza who named Jeric a bike beneficiary at Dr. Beato Macayra National High School in Baganga, Davao Oriental.
When Mam Ritchie heard about the Pedals and Paddles program sponsored through the Philippine Department of Education she was immediately interested. For the last five years she has been hoping that someday soon she could get bikes for her students through this program. The program struggled when the administration changed, but Bikes for the Philippines (motto: where there's a wheel, there's a way!) continued to look for a way to get bikes to this school.
Dr. Beato Macayra National High School is positioned on the island group known as Mindanao, in the southernmost part of the Philippines. (read: pretty far away from BfP headquarters in Manila). Delivering bikes to individual recipients in the Philippines, even through bulk donations to school districts, remains one of the biggest challenges for BfP. The containers shipped from BfW arrive in Manila, where BfP operates a warehouse. Once they are repaired they are then transported again to their final destinations which are often hundreds of miles away, over land and sea.
Bringing bikes to Mindanao was a distant, literally, goal of BfP, but one they were able to reach in 2016. So while, Mam Ritchie has been waiting quite a while for these bikes, BfP managed to find a way to deliver them soon after landing on the island. Last June the first batch of beneficiaries received their bikes through this program.
Jeric was one of the first to receive a bike. He's exactly the type of roll model the program needs to succeed too. Jeric was quick to perfect his riding skills and master the safety components involved in the program. He moved up through the ranks and became VP of the school's bike club.
I consider our club like it's my family. We talk and bond here in our office.Jeric Margate bike beneficiary and club VP
Mam Ritchie meticulously reviewed each student's background before selecting them for the bike project. She wanted to be clear that bikes were not rewards for good grades; anyone in need is eligible IF they commit to the rules of the program.
The beneficiaries selected lived a good distance away from the school. They typically have several siblings, which would increase the cost of paying for transportation to school (a single ride to school costs about 36 cents per rider). She also looked at their attitudes and family backgrounds.
Jeric comes from a single parent home. He said Joel Uichico, the ED of BfP reminds him of his father. He looks up to Sir Joel as a father figure. In fact, many of the students do. And now they also look up to Jeric.
Jeric currently works with the newest batch of beneficiaries to receive bikes at his school. With this second batch last fall, many families were reunited in their commutes after an older sibling received a bike in June and the younger ones joined in September. Training the older students first brings experience into the program before adding more bikes and more riders. It also brings them together as a community, a family.
I'm so happy that Sir Joel has helped us. My father is gone. Now we'll have money to buy rice because I don't have to spend to get to school now that I have a bike.Gerlie Consigra, new bike beneficiary