We know a bicycle is a life changing object the world over. In the developing world it is life changing on a different scale. It allows access to health care, education, economic opportunity and wider community. Sustainable transport is a big lever in breaking the poverty cycle – a bicycle means you can travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load – this alone is enough to provide a change in circumstance that is profound and lasting but there’s more to this project than just that.
Each of the 40 foot shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity Melbourne sends becomes a bicycle workshop – providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it’s placed.
Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC) becomes a self sustaining entity – fitting very cleanly into the model of micro-financed small business that is lately seen as one of the central ways for the developing world to move away from aid dependence.
A Bicycle Empowerment Center ( BEC) is a bicycle workshop built from the shipping container the bicycle have arrived in. The bicycles make a huge difference but it is the BEC that makes a lasting difference. Each trains and employs local community members to be bicycle mechanics and small business people – providing employment, skills training, business opportunity and economic stimulus. Our African implementation partner Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) Namibia established this model over 10 years ago and has now built a network of close to 40 BECs across Namibia and into Zambia. Watch this short video about our first BEC in Opuwo in northern Namibia:
Watch Richard Sidey’s and Hap Cameron’s wonderful documentary about Bicycles For Humanity, Namibia and Hap’s ten year mission to live and work in every continent before turning 30. This film tells the story of what we do with a huge heart and shows an intimate view of Africa where many of our project are based.