Donated bicycles to go to children in Rwanda

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That forgotten bike on the side of the house or in the back of the garage you haven’t ridden in years now has a home. From Thursday, April 1 to Monday, April 5, the Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club will be accepting bicycle donations in the club parking lot that will be given to kids in Rwanda, a country in East Africa.

Right now, there is a 40-foot-long shipping container in Surrey, B.C. that has about 250 bicycles neatly packed into it. When it reaches 500 bicycles, Washington state coordinator Terry Mahoney said the container will be sent to Kigali, Rwanda, where the bikes will be reassembled and given to local children. The shipping container will then be converted into a sustainable bike shop, creating local employment and a place for the community to go for maintenance, he said.

“There’s hundreds of people that have bicycles that they don’t know what to do with and this is a perfect opportunity to make some real use out of them,” Mahoney said.

The program was modeled after Bicycles for Humanity, which is a global organization that has donated over 325,000 bikes to people in various countries in Africa. This specific branch and container that will be shipped to Kigali was motivated by Rwandan efforts around children like the Rwanda Bookmobile, which spreads love of reading through storytelling and providing one book to each child, Mahoney said.

The 450 to 500 bikes donated will be repaired and shipped over to Kigali along with parts, tools and setup for the bike shop. Mahoney said the total project costs around $20,000.

According to information Mahoney provided, bicycles allow people who primarily walk to travel twice as far, twice as fast and carry four times the load.

Bikes can be dropped off near the bag drop area at the club and employees will place the bicycles in a trailer, which Blaine trucking company Kam-Way Transportation will provide. Kam-Way will transport the bikes to the shipping container in Surrey.

For more information or to donate to the project, email Mahoney at glassmt@yahoo.com.

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