The power of owning a bicycle goes far beyond the pleasure and simple transportation needs that we use them for in the United States. We laugh at the memories of our parents or grandparents talking about walking miles to and from school each day, but for many in developing countries, this is their reality and it is a tremendous barrier to obtaining an education.
Since 2005, World Bicycle Relief (WBR) has been providing bikes to communities in developing countries around the world. Founded by F.K. Day and Leah Missbach Day in response to the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, World Bicycle Relief now focuses their efforts on mobilizing students, healthcare workers, and entrepreneurs across Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. The organization uses their specially designed Buffalo bicycles that are assembled locally and then distributed to individuals through the assistance of a Bicycle Supervisory Committee. Comprised of twelve members of each community, including students, this committee selects the bicycle beneficiaries, enforces the contracts that come along with bicycle ownership, and monitors the success of the program. Today, over 400,000 Buffalo bicycles have been distributed.
Nearly 70% of the student beneficiaries of the Buffalo bicycles are females. The reasoning behind this number is that girls are the first ones to be pulled out of school when families experience hardship. Bicycle ownership also helps them avoid the threat of sexual assault and animals on their commute to school. Additionally, when girls have access to an education they are less likely to get married and start a family at a young age and more likely to invest in their community.
Each year in July WBR runs their Wheels in the Field campaign where donations are matched dollar-for-dollar through a variety of supporters. This campaign focuses on the needs of one single country. Malawi was the 2016 recipient of the drive and WBR was able to raise enough to fund 3,100 Buffalo bicycles. The 2018 Wheels in the Field campaign will once again focus on Malawi, one of the poorest nations in the world. This landlocked country that lies to the south of Tanzania is one of the world’s worst-hit by HIV-Aids and home to more than one million children orphaned by the disease. 46% of children in Malawi do not finish primary school. Without an education, those same children grow up with limited employment options and are likely to repeat the cycle of poverty. WBR has a goal of funding 3,400 Buffalo Bicycles through the Wheels in the Field campaign.
Use the link below to view bicycles that will directly support WBR. Red Truck sends 5% of the sale price on each of these bicycles to WBR, but purchases made in the month of July will see their contribution doubled to 10% through the Wheels in the Field campaign.