In July, a group of riders departed from Higher Gear’s parking lot. The destination for that day was Kenosha, Wisconsin, but their sights were set much farther than that.
The riders of our 4th annual Gran Fondo Hundo were pedaling for a purpose. Our ride was a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief (WBR), an organizations whose mission it is to mobilize individuals and their communities through the Power of Bicycles.
WBR set a goal for July of raising funds for 3,200 Buffalo Bicycles. (If you’re not familiar with the Buffalo Bike, it’s a purpose-built 2-wheeled machine designed to transport people and heavy loads across challenging terrain. You can learn more about it here.) WBR’s July campaign was focused on Zambia and, more specifically, the Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Program (BEEP) in Zambia.
The efforts of our 4th annual Gran Fondo Hundo participants helped WBR exceed their goal, raising 4,492 Buffalo Bicycles in the month of July. Our Hundo riders and their donors have given students in Zambia the tool they need to achieve their dreams and to empower their families and communities.
Our Hundo participants, volunteers, donors, sponsors, motorcycle escorts and organizers all had a hand in WBR’s July success. And to each one of who you has made a difference, we thought we’d share a little about what you’ve helped accomplish.
To begin to comprehend the difference a bicycle can make to an individual and community in Zambia, it’s helpful to first understand a bit about the country itself:
- More than half of Zambians live on less than $2 a day. (Source: World Bank.)
- 3.9 million children are living in Poverty in rural Zambia. (Source: UNICEF.)
- 375,000 Zambian children age 7-14 are not in school. (Source: Education Policy and Data Center.)
- Child marriage would drop 64% if all girls had secondary education. (Source: Education Policy and Data Center.)
Bikes Help Students Thrive!
In Zambian schools with WBR’s Bicycles for Educational Empowerment Programs (BEEP):
- Academic performance increased 17%
- Missing 10+ days decreased 35%
- Far fewer dropouts (5) compared to non-beneficiaries (112)
Measuring Progress in Zambia: One Life at a Time
With distance being conquered by Buffalo Bicycles, Zambian students have a brighter future. Meet just two of the students whose direction changed through BEEP and the Power of Bicycles:
Beene (Riding since 2011)
Beene would walk 16 km a day to and from school, when she could make it. She suffered from leg pain that kept her at home 2-3 days a week. In 2011, Beene received a Buffalo Bicycle and was able to attend school every day for the first time ever! With more energy and no more pain, Beene joined inter-school athletics. She also had more time and energy for her important responsibilities at home, including caring for her nieces and nephews, cleaning, fetching water, and working in the family garden. When school was not in session, Beene’s family used the bicycle to transport goods to market and take the children to a healthcare clinic 8 miles away.
Fewstar (Riding since 2010)
In 2009, Fewstar’s parents desperately needed money. In order to collect a dowry worth about $425 USD, they arranged a marriage for their daughter. A school official intervened and helped Fewstar get a Buffalo Bicycle, making it possible for the girl to finish her education. Fewstar also used her bicycle to help with chores like fetching water, transporting goods to market, and accessing healthcare. Fewstar credits the bicycle with helping her dream of a new future: one in which she graduates school and secures a job delivering bicycles to others.
Your Impact, Multiplied
As we see from Beene’s and Fewstar’s examples, a bicycle can change the direction of an individual’s life. But the impact doesn’t end there. That bicycle can have a profound effect on her family and the community around her. The family of a student with a Bicycle, like Beene’s, can get goods to market and take children to get needed healthcare. The community of a student who finishes her schooling can benefit far into the future. Perhaps the entrepreneurs in Fewstar’s community will have access Buffalo Bicycles to get their goods to market. Once she finishes her nursing training, Belita‘s community – and surrounding communities – will have access to better healthcare.
Since 2009, WBR has delivered more than 50,000 bicycles to Zambian students. Through the help of our Hundo participants, volunteers, donors, sponsors, motorcycle escorts and organizers, another 4,492 Buffalo Bicycles will have the power to impact the lives of students, their families and their communities. Our Hundo riders rode 62 miles to Kenosha, but their efforts will have far-reaching effects in Zambia. That is the Power of Bicycles.
Thank you to all involved in our 4th annual Gran Fondo Hundo for growing the impact of bicycles for students in rural Zambia!
“Only someone who loves you can give you such a gift before you have even met.” – Beene, 14yrs
- Learn about Claire Geiger’s trip to Zambia to distribute Buffalo Bikes to students >>
- The Higney family saw the Power of Bicycles made real >>
- Learn how one woman turned her passion into the power to change the world >>
- Discover the power of a Buffalo Bicycle >>
- Learn about BEEP’s launch in Zambia back in 2013 >>