This Friday, myself and fellow co-founder of Wheelsuckers, Nick Williamson, will be setting off to Africa to cycle 500km in five days across Ghana . . on mountain bikes! We will be raising money for a UK Charity called Child.org and their partner in Ghana, the Shape Lives Foundation.
One of their most innovative projects is their Bike Club, which provides bicycles to children and members of the wider community. A bike in the rural areas we will be cycling through allows children and adults access to education and healthcare, whilst providing a convenient means of transport for market produce, drinking water and even livestock!
The blog post below tells the story of a 16 year old called Kudroha, who just happens to be the same age as my son, Frank, and Nick’s daughter, Eve, who will both be joining us on this adventure, Kudroha is one of the beneficiaries of the Bike Club initiative and, as Martina Gant from Child.org explains, a bike can transform the life of a young Ghanaian living in a rural area.
Kudroha is 16 years old and goes to a good school 60km away from his home. His family don’t have a car so before he had this bike, he had to save money to pay for a car or bus to get him there on time.
“I bought my bike from here because of how long a journey I was going. I can take it to many places.”
Kudroha is committed to getting the best education he can, but if he didn’t have the money for his fare, he couldn’t get to school. Before Shape Lives, he had another bike but it broke and he couldn’t afford repairs or to buy another.
He heard about the Shape Lives programme through a local radio station and his parents were able to buy the bike for him by paying in instalments. Kudroha is now saving for his future with the money he was spending on vehicles.
Kudroha still has a long commute to school each day; he gets up at 5am every day to cycle for two hours to get to school for class at 8am. But he doesn't mind!
About Shape Lives and The Bike Club
Shape Lives Foundation, led by Alexander Kedje, aim to help individuals and communities to break away from poverty. They run projects relating to education, environment, health and poverty reduction.
Shape Lives has an innovative approach to sustainability, having operated a number of programmes that offer benefit to the community but not simply by giving handouts. One of those projects is their bike club. Shape Lives knows that a bike can change a life, particularly the life of someone living in poverty. A bike provides an opportunity to save time and energy, earn an income and access education and healthcare, especially to those living in rural areas.
The bike club provides the community in Hohoe, in the Volta region of east Ghana,with the opportunity to access, then maintain, quality bicycles. Alex and his team import bikes which they sell, usually on hire purchase, to members of their community. Maintenance on the bikes is free for all customers as part of the service.
Selling the bikes ensures the programme is covering its own costs, meaning that more people can benefit in future. Selling also attributes a value to the bikes by the beneficiaries, who are then more likely to take good care of them.
The bikes that Nick, Eve, Frank and myself will be donated to the Bike Club at the end of our ride.
Child.org is a medical based charity committed to improving the lives of children in poorer communities in various parts of Africa, many of who are orphans or living in rural poverty.
Dave, Frank, Eve and Nick training for Ghana in the Cotswolds!
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