“Building a school is one thing. Getting to school is another” says Richie Harkham, founder of our project partner in Mynamar, Hark Angel (www.harkangel.org)
Hark Angel are an amazing NGO in Myanmar, building schools and educating children that wouldn’t otherwise have this opportunity. These children don’t have the luxury of hopping on a school bus. Many walk for miles to and from school. Others live far too far and are forced to drop out of school when transitioning from primary to high school, which may be in another village.
Bikes 4 Life were so excited to partner with Hark Angel, and in July this year, we proudly provided almost 500 bicycles from our Southern Highlands site to the poorest kids from Hark Angel’s 8 villages. Our humble bicycles will go a long away in ensuring almost 500 kids finish school.
Hark Angel even converted the shipping container into a classroom. Talk about zero waste. Talk about changing lives.
To learn more about what Hark Angel do, please visit their website www.harkangel.org
Watch this space for our upcoming trip to Myanmar in April 2020!
Bikes4Life was extremely proud to support the Connecting Communities Australia project over the June long weekend with the community of Goodooga in Northern NSW.
We donated 30 x bikes for the school children to ride at the youth recreation centre and Bikes 4 Life and the Bicycle Garden volunteers built a pump track and ran a repair workshop with the kids!
We hope we have played a small part in encouraging the youngsters to get outside and enjoy the fun of bike riding.
Thanks to Goodooga community for the warm welcome and for sharing a walk on country and community dinner. We look forward to our next visit and for continuing this partnership in years to come! Thank you to Venetia Scott from B4L Sydney for managing this project for us!
In December 2018 a crew from Bikes 4 Life Sydney together with representatives of Friends of BFT Australia, completed a 3 day fundraising bike ride in Cambodia in support of Build Your Future Today.
At the conclusion of the ride we spent a few days in Siem Reap and where we saw first hand the incredible impact that Sedtha Long, his wife Sek and the entire BFT team’s tireless work is having on the community. We listened to Sedtha’s harrowing yet inspiring story and Bikes 4 Life feel honoured to be able to support this genuinely committed team.
During this trip we delivered another container of 387 bikes, our second to BFT, and the kids were absolutely ecstatic to receive their bikes. A workshop was also held in a remote community where we serviced a few of our previously donated bikes – we loved our time hanging out the with kids and their parents and would like to thank everyone that participated in this journey.
We will definitely be back soon!
In October 2018, Bikes 4 Life donated 500 bikes and set up a second workshop with our local charity partner, Union of Hope. We also supported other local charities ‘Serving His Children’ and made a second delivery to our friends at Water for Africa. It was very hot, and very hard work, but seeing the smiles on the faces of the recipients makes it absolutely worth it!
In February Sara, Chris and Mark from our Sydney warehouse participated in a charity bike ride to support our Thailand partner, Hands Group. They joined a corporate ride with The Scentre Group who kindly let them bike crash their tour! The challenge was riding 537kms in 5 days and the reward was being greeted by the smiles and cheers of the Baan Home Hug orphanage at the completion of the ride. Everyone carried a photo of one of the Baan Home Hug children on their journey which helped immensely during the tough days. However all aches and pains subsided when the children greeted the riding team, waving their photos of us – acknowledging what we had just done. Following a beautiful performance provided by the kids, a welcome dinner that night and a very high energy disco, we returned the next day to Baan Home Hug where our container of bikes was waiting! We held a workshop which the Scentre Group riders participated in, and prepared around 150 bikes for the Hands Group orphanages, as well as carefully selected members of the local community. It was a privilege for the B4L team to meet Mae Thiew, Home Hug founder and Asian Person of the Year 2011, who welcomed us with open arms and attended the ceremony where we handed out the bikes to the children. This particular container was full of new bikes, donated kindly from Beyond the Boardroom through their corporate team building programs, so a big thanks must also be extended to them as well. Thanks for having us Thailand. We will be back!
We are thrilled to report that our 5th donation of bikes to Cambodian Children’s Fund arrived in April and they were received with much excitement. This container was a little different to our previous ones. We sent our bikes ‘unprepared’ with a view to CCF utilising them for a bike mechanic trainee program for the fathers of the CCF community. This will provide these fathers with a skill to earn an income from and will give them a sense of pride and purpose. The container we left in 2014 will act as a workshop to run this program. We are so proud of our established partnership with CCF and look forward to helping with their next project!
NORTHERN CAMBODIA 2017
In September 2017 we delivered a container of 392 recycled bikes to our amazing friends at Build Your Future Today in Siem Reap. Along with the bikes, we gifted the 20ft container to BFT and they are now utilising the space for a bike workshop and storage for their community school. We are so proud to be able to support founder Sedtha Long, his family and their extended community. Our bikes have made a huge difference to the kids’ daily life, enabling children to access education.
To further leverage our donation, BFT organised a wonderful local fundraising initiative to gift the bikes to the community. Supporting participants were able to purchase a ticket whereby they were provided with a bicycle and rode 20kms. For every ticket sold, a bike and a locally made doll were given to a child. From all accounts it was hugely successful. Check out the video that BFT produced. Amazing! We can’t wait to continue our partnership and organise our next project with you soon!
SIERRA LEONE 2016
We completed our first project in Sierra Leone with our partner The Fig Tree Children and it was a great success indeed! Thank you Jane Shakespeare for reaching out and making it happen. Thank you Caritas Freetown for being so gracious and generous! We have the best volunteers working for us and our supporters are loyal, we really do feel the love! Our positive energy does not simply evaporate, it is extended for a brand new life within others where it will be absorbed and thus the cycle continues! Thank you all – peace and love! #2016
NORTHERN UGANDA 2016
The first major project for 2016 was a huge success in Northern Uganda. And by far, our biggest and most successful project to date. Melbourne volunteers Angela Poon and Mike Welham travelled to Uganda late December ahead of the arrival of bikes in early January. Angela and Mike spent almost 3 months on the ground, distributing bikes across northern Uganda, setting upsilon bike workshop programs and establishing partnerships with other groups and NGO’s. Our major partner on the ground this year was Union of Hope, headed by local Lira man, Moses Fredi. The stark reality is that every woman and child cannot afford $1 a day to meet the basic needs to survive. The rural communities where we work shows many families living in extreme poverty and many are HIV positive. Due to low self-esteem, low income, poor access to education and health facilities, Union of Hope exists to support these people in need and to bridge the gap between social exclusion. Bikes 4 Life and Union of Hope are working together to empower women and children so they can seek further opportunities to help their own socio-economic position by regularly attending school and bringing goods to the market to sell which, are often very far away. Together, we established an empowerment and training centre where youths are trained in bike maintenance skills to give youths the opportunity to work independently to increase their household income. This is a space where youths can thrive and become leaders in their own community and each youth trained will receive a package to support them as they seek maintenance jobs within their own communities. The workshop is fully functioning with tools and bike stands to help train staff and for general workshop purposes of fixing bikes. The funds from this program will help kick-start two adjoining projects which are Tailoring for girls and Carpentry for boys. We aim to train 100 youths to provide life skills that will also create employment opportunities. We are proud
to partner with Union of Hope, as this donation is estimated to empower 2000 direct beneficiaries every year. The four key groups of targeted beneficiaries are:
- Youths – Initially we will identify youths suitable to be bike mechanics and through the funds acquired through sales and employment we can set up two other streams of skills training. We will be focusing on Carpentry and Tailoring amongst boys and girls from different communities where team work and social interaction will be promoted.
- Village Health Teams (VHT)/ Community Health Worker – The bikes will provide a sustainable form of transport for VHT as they monitor community preventable diseases such as malaria and cholera and also to educate villages about good practices regarding hygiene. Their role is to promote good health and with the simple tool of a bike, they can visit many more households per day and treat many more patients.
- HIV Women and Children – Due to the lack of access to health centres and medical facilities, the bikes become more important for patients to acquire medicine. Furthermore, patients can attend their monthly ARV collections in time and be able to attend family social activities easier.
- School children – Many schools in these communities are located at Parish centres, which is about 3km away from home. Many children do not attend school due to long distances travelled, thus the bikes will increase attendance and performance. If children are attending school regularly then their potential to succeed in the future increases significantly.
Bikes 4 Life donated hundreds of bikes to war ravaged regions where victims of war and former child soldiers have been neglected in coming to terms with the loss of family members and in many cases are still suffering from the crimes committed against them and their loved ones. Our project supports village health workers, families and groups in remote areas who have been neglected from former displacement camps. These bikes are invaluable to these victims and would definitely boost morale and encourage everyone to be self-dependent and take action into lifting themselves out of poverty. Bikes 4 Life and Union of Hope are committed to providing hope for these families and communities in the Acholi region of northern Uganda. (Beneficiaries: Union of Hope; Hope North; Bikes Not Bombs; AFFCAD; Hope for Humans; Serving His Children; Amuru Village Health Workers)
In July 2016, we completed yet another 40 foot container delivery to our on-going partner, Cambodian Childrens’ Fund. This was our 3rd year delivering to one of the most worthiest of NGO’s. Thank you to CCF for allowing Bikes 4 Life to immerse ourselves into your community – we can see the impact our bikes are making – the education attendance levels are continually increasing and the way our bikes are shared amongst each other within the community is inspiring. We have now delivered over 800 bikes to CCF and plan to keep going! We also delivered 40 bikes to Build Your Future Today Centre, after some of the Bikes 4 Life team visited BFT whilst in Siem Reap. After visiting BFT and spending time with Founder Sedtha Long, we were thrilled to be able to donate some of our bikes to their wonderful charity. This Life Cambodia, also based in Siem Reap were also recipients of 30 of our bikes. Our total 2016 Cambodian project was managed by our Bikes 4 Life Sydney team – right from preparing bikes in Sydney, to packing the container – and best of all, 13 of our volunteers made the trip to Cambodia to see for themselves how gratefully our bikes are received.
A shipping container in Acacia Ridge was packed to the rafters with 200 refurbished bicycles that were given a new lease on life by Bikes 4 Life volunteers and the Nundah Activity Centre. The shipment headed to Nauru where the bicycles played an important part in a community-wide program to promote healthy lifestyles and improve social inclusion. Thanks to Bikes 4 Life, both the local Nauruan community and new refugee community members are now benefitting greatly from access to bicycles, easing transport issues and providing easier access to work, English classes, community activities and social events. Being able to connect to the wider local Nauruan community will now contribute to a more positive settlement experience for the refugees, and build genuine relationships and cross-cultural understanding. The opportunity to have a bike to travel around Nauru also provides excellent health incentives, engaging people in meaningful physical activity. The donation from Bikes 4 Life will be shared amongst local community members and those with least access to transport or most socially isolated.
CAPE YORK 2015
A worthy and honourable cause is nothing but a distraction unless it can be brought to life. Thanks to the support and generosity of Westpac, and the $10,000 grant we received this year from the Westpac Foundation, and to the hard work of our volunteer network, Bikes 4 Life is making a real difference to the lives of people in less fortunate positions. Our largest indigenous project to date was in a remote and an often neglected indigenous community in Cape York, far north Queensland, known as Pormpuraaw. We worked directly with the Pormpuraaw Panthuu Aboriginal Corporation (PPAC), local council, Job Find, with corporate support from Visa Global, Westpac 99 Bikes and Pacific National Rail. We sent 200 bicycles and a shipping container, which was the transformed into a functioning bike workshop and training centre. Our volunteers trained locals & youth and other community members in bike mechanics and set them up to train others in the community. Bikes 4 Life has also employed and trained a local person for 3 months, who will be managed thereafter by PPAC. This was an opportunity for us to positively impact people’s lives by helping create individual, families, community and societal outcomes that contribute to the safer community model of care, pathways to education and training and increased community wellbeing. We assisted in creating social cohesion to give opportunities to youths to become teachers themselves and to encourage them to be leaders in their own right. This ongoing program will be an extra-curricular activity for several schools as well as a hands-on learning course offered to students who are mechanically minded. The bikes will also be used as an incentive program for students who have good attendance results and thus, also promoting exercise while giving them freedom by providing them transport solutions. Bikes 4 Life aims to bridge the gap between social exclusion amongst youths and elders through bike maintenance where teamwork and social
interaction is required for success. Together we can develop sustainable solutions that strengthens social health, emotional health and physical health that will impact on long term community benefits and future leadership. Follow us on our journey into Far North Queensland. (Beneficiary: Pormpuraaw) – supported by Westpac and 99 Bikes and Nundah Activity Centre. Thanks to our Brisbane Volunteers.
Vulnerable children and families in Tanzania were the beneficiaries of our 20 foot container full of restored bikes donated via our Sydney warehouse. Bikes 4 Life teamed up with another Australian charity, Water for Africa. The donated bikes were given families so they can now travel to wells to access safe drinking water. Nurses will also receive bikes so they can get to patients quicker, and our bikes will change the lives of people affected by HIV, who often walk for hours to get life-saving treatment. One of the greatest causes of poverty in Africa is the lack of access to clean water. One child dies every 21 seconds from a water related disease. Water For Africa installs water wells giving people safe, clean drinking water. Our bikes will encourage students to attend school; especially girls who walk long distances and often risk getting attacked on the way. So not only can bikes help children to get to school safely, they carry water home after the school day finishes. Thanks to our Sydney volunteers who managed this project. (Beneficiary: Water for Africa) – Supported by Visa Global Logistics & Fuel CDI
EAST TIMOR 2015
We sent our first lot of bikes to Timor Leste with the support of Rotary in Dili. Initially it was a small amount of bikes, between 50 and 100, but we plan to continue supporting Rotary and communities in East Timor on a regular basis. The first lot of bikes went to children and community members who travel long distances to reach school and places of work.
In June 2015 our team returned to Cambodia with a container of 450 bikes for Cambodian Children’s Fund, World Housing Cambodia and Cambodian Volunteers for Community Development in Phnom Penh and the following NGO’s in Siem Reap: Human Translation Organisation, Build your Future Today, Self Help Community Centre, HAGAR and Regional Development Action Cambodia. Bikes 4 Life sent a team of eleven volunteers who assisted Cambodia Children’s Fund to prepare the bikes for a selection of deserving students from the new CCF Rice Academy. Many students remembered the Bikes 4 Life team from our visit in 2014 and were excitedly telling us how much our bikes have impacted their lives. Some pictures of our trip are below.
Our major international project in May 2014 was in Cambodia, where we partnered with Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF), founded by Scott Neeson. We sent 512 bikes to Cambodia and one bike workshop. The bikes were provided to hard working students at CCF and to those who really needed transport to get to school, and to help their families. Other bikes were donated to different organisations, schools and orphanages. Eight volunteers from Australia went to Cambodia to help train locals in bike mechanics and to be a part of the bike distribution. See the video from our trip here:
CENTRAL AUSTRALIA 2014
Tjuntjuntjara & Oak Valley In July 2012 Bikes 4 Life partnered with Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs in support of their Wicked Wheels project, to teach the children how to become bush mechanics. With the help from Tangentyere Council we were able to distribute bikes to remote communities and camps. In 2012 we also delivered bikes, tools, spare parts and helmets to remote and impoverished schools and community groups in Wadeye, a neglected Indigenous community about 5 hours drive from Darwin. The aim was that children performing well would have a bike to get to school, to promote education and increase school attendance. Throughout 2012 we also raised bikes for marginalised Indigenous communities in Central Australia and on a local level throughout Melbourne, for disadvantaged youth and families most in need.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA 2014
In early 2014 we sent a 40 foot container to Papua New Guinea which was transformed into a workshop. We delivered a whopping 460 bikes plus tools, parts and accessories! We worked with locals in the regions of Madang and Mt Hagen, predominantly with orphans, street kids, youth at risk, victims of abuse and also as an incentive to school children in remote regions. Check out the video from our paint and pack day:
In 2014 and 2015 Bikes 4 life have supported local groups and organisations in Fiji by donating a small number of bikes to existing projects where containers of donated goods are pre-organised and need a bit of extra love and quality donations, especially that of bikes which have proven to dramatically benefit people’s lives. In 2014 we sent racing bikes to support a new Fiji racing team and culture that in the past has seen riders using non racing bikes for training and competitions. We would like to send better road bikes in the future if they require further assistance.
NORTHERN UGANDA 2013
In 2013 we shipped 2 containers filled with discarded and refurbished bikes from donors in Melbourne and Sydney, to Kenya, and then trucked to Kampala in Uganda, and eventually hauled up to Northern Uganda. Our major project partner for 2013 in Northern Uganda was Summit Foundation / SUFO. SUFO worked closely with the Bikes 4 Life Representative, Frey Onen, during the stock count and distribution of bikes to initially designated beneficiaries, and later on, SUFO proceeded with recruiting and training a selected number of beneficiaries for the remaining bikes in the container. SUFO carefully selected the beneficiaries of the bikes, in collaboration with local leaders SUFO and B4L Representative distributed, SUFO distributed the bikes to female and male beneficiaries. These bicycles are now helping them ease access to their gardens, markets, schools and health facilities, among others. Furthermore SUFO set up a bike workshop program with youth affected by war and former child soldiers. The youth took part in bicycle repair training at the Wokshop at SUFO compound in Gulu. A total of 100 youths were trained, given bikes and returned to their communities to set up their own bicycle repair stalls for income earning.
CENTRAL AND NORTH AUSTRALIA 2013
(Wadeye & Alice Springs) In 2013 Bikes4Life partnered with Tangentyere Council in Alice Springs in support of their Wicked Wheels project, to teach the children how to become bush mechanics. With the help from Tangentyere Council we were able to distribute bikes to remote communities and camps. They had an existing bike workshop and were in need mainly of bikes and spares – so we also sent a whole lot of bikes to support their bike workshop, which attracted the interest of generally disengaged youth who had no interested in school and where therefore regarded as high risk youth. These boys excelled at the workshop!
NORTHERN UGANDA 2012
In February 2012 two of our volunteers travelled to Uganda to meet our very first shipment of 400 bikes. We delivered them to a number of groups and NGOs throughout the country, our main partners being AFFCAD in the Bwaise Slums of Kampala and child soldier rehabilitation centre, Friends of Orphans in Northern Uganda. It was a huge success! 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.