Bicycles for Humanity is a pure grassroots movement that was started eight years ago by a couple trying to solve the problem in Namibia of healthcare workers with AIDS, having to walk to take care of those sicker than themselves. Now, B4H comprises over 50 chapters, and has sent 75,000 bicycles to developing parts of Africa. These bicycles are sent to empower people in the developing world by helping solve the basic problem of mobility. A bicycle allows a healthcare worker to visit four to five times the number of patients in a day. It allows for mothers to bring drinking water home and bring her goods to market, and aids children in traveling to school. Bikes can cut travel time from one hour to 20 minutes, and can allow people to carry four times more weight. Best of all—the majority of these bikes were otherwise destined to rust in a landfill. Each year, over 10 million usable bikes make it to the landfill.
B4H sends the bikes to countries in need via a shipping container. Each container can contain between 450–500 bikes. Upon arrival, the container is transformed to a Bicycle Empowerment Center. These BECs are fully loaded with bikes, spare parts, tools, and comprehensive material on bike maintenance. They are designed to empower people and their communities with transportation and the means to maintain it. Some shipping containers go even further than becoming a bike shop. To further empower the people with education and the means to collect data to further their health care and business opportunities, tablets and docking stations can be added. These tablets have onboard educational software, and also enable access to the web.
RPI’s Tau Nu chapter of Phi Gamma Delta is partnering with the Adirondack chapter of B4H to help them send over 450 bikes to South Africa. FIJI will be collecting at the Rensselaer Union on Wednesday 9/17 from 12–6 pm and again at their new house, the former First Baptist Church, located at 82 3rd Street in downtown Troy on Thursday 9/18 from 4–7 pm. If anyone has a bike to donate, but cannot drop it off during these times, they can contact email@example.com. More information on B4H can be found at bicycles-for-humanity.org.