A boy in Ghana receives his bike (Photo by Dan Austin)
The Seattle-based 88bikes Foundation announced travel plans today for their fifth and largest bike-giveaway project to date. Beginning with trips to the Republic of Mozambique and South Africa later this month, The VILLAGES project will deliver 500 bikes to orphans in both countries. The project, focusing on small, rural locations where the bikes can have a major impact, will also include villages in Mongolia, the Navajo Nation, and Nicaragua. In total, 1,000 bikes will be endowed to orphans in the five countries.
Funds for the bikes are collected through individual donations of $88, the approximate cost of a bike in most developing countries. Bikes are then purchased and assembled locally and delivered to the children, along with the name and a photo of the sponsor.
"We are so excited to be returning to Africa for this major endowment," Dan Austin, founder of 88bikes, says. "Many children in these areas currently walk two or three hours a day to go to school! We hope that, by infusing an isolated region with bicycles, the educational prospects, health and, of course, happiness of these heroic kids will be enhanced.”
The nonprofit began in 2006 with the idea of raising enough funds to give a bike to each of the 88 orphans at Cambodia's Palm Tree Orphanage. The ongoing goal of 88bikes is to provide a sustainable, joyful, empowering form of transportation to young people in developing countries affected by war, conflict, poverty, disease, or other regional hardships.
You can read more about Dan Austin and other Outside Altruism All-Stars in our December 2009 issue.