At Bikes 4 Life we are trying to raise as many bicycles as we can to send to the most isolated, vulnerable and war-ravaged districts in Northern Uganda (Gulu, Pader and Kitgum) who have been affected by a brutal 22 year long war and neglected by the outside world. The people that live in these districts are still largely displaced and are subject to extreme poverty, mental illness, disease, famine and political instability. From the camps basic health care, education, food and water is largely inaccessible. However with bicycles as a mode of transport, civilians will have an increased chance at surviving…. better able to access food, water, medical aid, schools and so forth. We are trying to help revive a neglected people, promoting community outreach, peace building, self esteem, personal empowerment and education.
Bicycles and the ease of transport to locations they provide have the potential to save the lives of men, women and children that are dying everyday due to preventable diseases. Bicycles are also beneficial in terms of the economic recovery, aiding in areas such as agriculture. By helping the people of the North move forward in the post-war period, we hope to also promote peace and recovery, while helping to strengthen community relationships, values and structures.
In February 2012 two of our committee members/volunteers traveled to Uganda to meet our very first shipment of bikes. After a few stressful weeks of waiting for the clearance, we finally got our container, with almost 400 bikes in it, and delivered them to a number of groups and NGOs throughout the country, such as AFFCAD in the Bwaise Slums of Kampala, the Pader Women’s Group, Friends of Orphans in Northern Uganda and Hope Restoration Orphanage in Jinja. It was a huge success so thank you to everyone for their involvement with our project… Every supporter, every fan, every volunteer and every donation is integral to our work and we couldn’t have done it without that support. Thank you! And the people of Uganda thank you also!
Aside from distributing bikes we also established a bike workshop for vulnerable children and people affected by the two decade long war. When our 40 foot container reached its final destination at Friends of Orphans in Pader Northern Uganda, it became the Bikes 4 Life bike workshop, to aid in the social and economic rehabilitation of former child soldiers and victims of the LRA War. The workshop aims to also provide training and teach students in bike mechanics, useful skills that are beneficial in such rural and remote settings, where bikes are the primary and most effective form of transport.
In April 2013 we sent our second 40 foot container (bike workshop), and another 400 bicycles. Our third international project is in Papua New Guinea, where currently we have a container on a vessel somewhere between Australia and PNG, for a project that will begin in November 201