3 minutes reading time (581 words)

On the Move with Jackie

Jackie got her start as a bike mechanic through a workshop offered at Cycloville. She originally saw the opportunity as a way to improve her family. She quickly saw the impact she could have on her community.

Jackie took part in one of the first training sessions offered by Cycloville seven years ago. It was a small class of three women and one man. The head trainer broke down a bike and taught the student mechanics how to clean, repair, and build a bike from the frame up. While the mechanics were learning to grow their skill set, Cycloville was looking to grow the industry. 

Cycloville was created to increase the bike supply in Nairobi, Kenya. With those donated bikes, Cycloville was able to grow the network. They trained mechanics, got them set up in satellite shops and helped support them with stock donated through US based non profits, like Bikes for the World. As they created a market for bikes, they created jobs, and increased opportunities by providing reliable, affordable transportation around some of the most impoverished areas of Kenya. 

But Jackie saw something bigger than that. She saw hope and inspiration. For women in rural Africa, employment opportunities are limited. Dreams often go unfulfilled. But Jackie saw happiness. And freedom. And possibilities. All from end of her pedal wrench.

Jackie joined forced with the women in her initial training group to form a woman owned and operated bike shop serving at the edge of Mathare. Next, they stared a learn to ride program specifically targeted at teaching women how to ride a bike and do simple repairs. 

Jackie was not only empowering women to take charge of their lives in the form of independence but she was giving them hope that a better life was within reach.

The Women's Bike Program continued within Nairobi. And in 2018 bigger opportunities came knocking for Jackie. When another of our partners, Learn, Work, and Develop (LWD) out of Rwanda, wanted to start a bike program, they looked to Cycloville for advice and guidance. They sent Jackie.

Jackie brought her knowledge and skills to help LWD develop their social enterprise program to train youth and empower women. They are now using bikes to break gender stereotypes in Rwanda. LWD mobilizes young women to raise awareness, advocate, and move towards financial independence.

Training women how to ride a bike is a lot of fun. Some of the women face various challenges and showing them how to use the bike to manage part of these challenges is very fulfilling.

Jackie, mechanic and educator Cycloville

The pandemic greatly impacted the track Cycloville was on to grow and cultivate their mission. The supply of bikes from the states was cut dramatically and Cycloville had to pull back the way they supplied bikes to a greater number of small businesses. They now support a core of less than a half dozen locations and they have seen the demand for bikes and quality used parts increase over the past two years.

Bikes for the World has consistently sent a container of bikes to Cycloville since 2018. Our latest shipment arrived over the summer delivering not only 500 bikes, but TONS of other parts and accessories to help stock the shelves.It is our mission to increase our supply of  bikes and recovered parts to help all of our partners build back their programs after a challenging couple years.

Featured Volunteer: Patrick Short