On Thursday, July 21, a new non-profit was announced in the Mayor’s reception hall: the African Bicycle Contribution Foundation.
The Foundation’s mission is to underwrite the costs of producing and distributing bicycles to under-resourced students, families and transport-dependent small business owners in Ghana, a country of 27 million people in West Africa, many of whom live in rural areas, and often need bicycles for their basic transportation needs.
Many of the bikes will be given to women, students, farmers, and families without access to drinking water. Traditionally in Ghana, the jobs of food, water, fuel gathering and health care provider are left to women. With bicycles as a means of transport, these women can get to critical destinations much faster than walking. The bicycles will also be given to students, for many the only option used to be walking to school. Farmers would use the bicycles to transport their goods to market, benefiting the local economy and bringing food options to those who need it.
The bicycles themselves bring another unique aspect to this foundation. They are made from bamboo.
They are made by the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, led by founder Bernice Dapaah. The Ghana Bamboo Bikes is a socio-ecological green initiative that addresses the quadruple problems of climate change, poverty, rural-urban migration and high unemployment amongst the youth in rural Ghana. GBBI employs women with little to no education and trains them to build the bikes. They offer multipurpose second generation bamboo bikes that are suitable for the high terrain and rough roads for local and international needs using native bamboo.
African Bicycle Contribution Foundation is a 501 (c)3 based in Philadelphia and you can read more about them on their website: http://www.africanbike.org/
– Marina Stuart