Tuesday, February 03, 2009

World Bicycle Relief helps the productivity of the underdeveloped world

Another charity that we learned about this morning is the story of World Bicycle Relief. Started by Chicago businessman F. K. Day, who felt unfulfilled despite growing a large bicycle parts company.

The Monterey County herald tells us how Day began the charity and began to find fulfillment through making a difference. In this snippet, he makes a very good point on how even bicycles can help the poor.

He discovered his calling four years ago when a devastating tsunami tore through Southeast Asia. SRAM, the company he started with his brother and a group of friends, wanted to help, so Day, 49, and his wife traveled to Sri Lanka and Indonesia, trying to determine how bikes could improve lives in countries racked by natural disasters and extreme poverty.

That led to the creation of World Bicycle Relief, which has distributed nearly 50,000 new bikes to support HIV/AIDS caregivers in Zambia and helped victims of the tsunami rebuild their lives. The nonprofit group has also dispersed hundreds of bikes in Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Lesotho.

Day has used SRAM's bike expertise to help create the workhorse equivalent of a bicycle: a 65-pound, steel-frame two-wheeler in the style of a postwar English roadster that's common in Asia and Africa. The bikes come with one or two racks that can carry an entire family or a farmer's produce to market and, more important, are sturdy enough to last a long time.

The group is planning to launch a program raising $7.5million for schools in Zambia to provide bikes to schoolchildren. Schools in the U.S. can adopt a school for $15,000, which pays for 100 bicycles. So far, Wheaton Academy in the western suburbs of Chicago has signed up and students volunteered for the program in Zambia.

"We in the developing world forget the power of transportation at the bottom of the market," he said. "Our greatest transportation story in Chicago is getting stuck in traffic, whereas in the developing world they're losing hours and hours a day walking. If we can return two, three, four hours per day to these people, that productivity can be used to better the family and better the communities."

Day says he never set out to start World Bicycle Relief. News clips of the tsunami in late 2004 prompted him and his wife, Leah Missbach Day, 50, to call U.S.-based relief groups and ask whether they would be interested in distributing used bicycles to survivors. The nonprofits said they would rather have a donation, so the Days traveled to Sri Lanka and Indonesia for field work of their own.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Five regional cities should be upgraded with in the provinces in Pakistan. Regional cities of Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, Gawadar/ Qalat in Balouchistan, Sukkar/ Larkana in Upper Sind, Jehlam/ Rawalpindi and Multan in Punjab province. These regional cities have been ignored by the federal and provincial governments although these cities have their own history, culture and languages.Dera Ismail Khan in south of Pakhtun khwa is under seige, Multan/DG Khan in south of Punjab is next target of religious extremists,Sukkar/ Larkan is rule by criminals, Gawadar/ Qalat is trouble some. The people of these regions have to travel to provincial capitals for every small issue and requirement of the daily life which should be provided in nearby cities. A good number of population travel to big cities for their survival to earn livelihood as the local feudal own majority land and keep the common man as their slaves. Creation of regional government and upgrading of the regional cities will save a lot of money and time of the poor people of these regions. Circuit courts of the High Courts are already working in these areas and only requirement is the additional staff of different departments involved in additional work at the provincial capitals. The concern authorities should immediately consider to upgrade the regional cities. And immediate attention should be given upgrade the airports,TV station, civic center, libraries,hospitals, educational institutes and investment opportunities for Pakistanis living abroad and foreign firms to create jobs in the area as majority population in rural Pakistan do not have enough resources to survive.It's remind me the condition of pre Islamic revolution of Iran in Shah time when the rural Iran was ignored and the capital Tehran was developed in a way to call it Paris of Middle East with modern life style. Couple of other big cities like Isfahan and Caspian sea was taken care of because of foreign tourists but rural area was ruled by cruel police and intelligence. Then what happen after revolution rural population moved to Tehran and other big cities. But the new government developed, built and upgraded the riral areas of the country.KHWAJA AFTAB ALI,( former secretary, Iranian embassy, Saudi Arabia) Advocate High Court & I.P. Attorney,presently residing in Florida, USA