2 minutes reading time (310 words)

When a Bike is More Than a Bike

A bicycle is designed as a vehicle to move you forward faster. No one knows this better than Isata, Rebecca, and now Aminata and Jeminatu. All four of these women run their own bike shops in Sierra Leone. In fact, Isata was the first female bike mechanic in Sierra Leone...that was about five years ago.

Today more women are joining the ranks. As cycling becomes more popular in the country the need for parts and mechanics continues to grow. And Isata laid the groundwork, or actually became the role model for other women to follow. Isata established her shop with the help of our partner Village Bicycle Project back in 2019. She broke a barrier that was holding women back from even dreaming of better careers. 

This year Village Bicycle Project helped Aminata (top left photo) start her own bike shop in Makeni. Aminata was working as an apprentice in Isata's shop when VBP learned about her. She had been racing with Isata and showed some interest in learning more about the mechanics of bikes. So Isata took what she learned and pulled Aminata into the fold. 

Now Aminata, and another woman Jeminatu, run their own shop like Isata. They have both been trained as mechanics and in business management. Jeminatu runs all the administrative and record keeping in the shop and Aminata handles the mechanics and shop management. In just one month's time they have sold over 60 bikes and spare parts that were donated through Re~Cycle and Bikes for the World. 

The importance of these small shops is greater than just a stop to get your old bikes up and running again. They create jobs and opportunities. They build careers, feed families, create dreams and possibilities. They also ensure that the bikes we send continue to run for years and years to come.

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