The Bicycle Story:
The movement of Bicycles for Humanity begin in 2005 in Whistler, BC, Canada by sending one container of bicycles to a small community in the sub-Saharan African nation of Namibia. There are now chapters all across the world, sending “Bicycling Empowerment Centers” to many developing nations globally. Bicycle Empowerment Centers are shipping crates filled with bikes and parts then staffed in Africa. The containers get shipped in land and open fully active as a non profit bike shop.
The creation of B4H Boston occurred after Whit Findlay’s bike trip across the Southern cone of Africa. He saw the benefits and gifts of mobility B4H provided people and upon return in he started B4H Boston. In 2013 our organization was established and our first container will be shipping in 2015.
The B4H process is a unique one. B4H Boston follows a three part process with focus remaining on sustainability and community. We achieve these focus’s by staying connected and involved in the communities in Africa and around Boston as well as NGO’s in Namibia as well as in Boston.
In order to send a shipment of bikes to Namibia, we must first raise the approximately $12,000 USD it takes to purchase a 40 foot shipping container and ship it through freight transport overseas to Africa. If packed skillfully, a 40 foot shipping container will hold up to 400 bicycles.
Once the container arrives in Namibia, the strategic collaboration comes into play. BEN Namibia works with local community-based organizations to turn the container into a Bicycling Empowerment Center (BEC). Our shipment of bikes becomes a containerized workshop, where several community members are trained in bicycle mechanics and business management, and the project then becomes focused on distributing bikes into the area and creating developmental projects for the mechanics’ families and community.
With each shipment comes a need to evaluate our outcomes and plan for future shipments. To ensure that we are offering transparency to our donors and support to our partners, our leadership team visits the communities where our bicycles were utilized within one year of our container arriving in Namibia.