"It gives many souls hope and empowers many people who in the future will support their families and communities at large."
"A bicycle 'adds hours to the day', and therefore makes a huge difference reducing travel time."
What a quote! This statement from Jude Muleke, Projects Coordinator at CBIRD in Uganda, encapsulates so neatly the reason TENWAYS wanted to support the fantastic work that Wheels 4 Life does. Partnering with local organizations like CBIRD, the charity gifts bicycles to those around the world who would benefit the most from the opportunities that two-wheeled mobility offers.
The Community Based Initiative for Rural Development (CBIRD) is a non-profit organization based in the Masaka region of Uganda, working to ensure the sustainable development of rural communities by supporting the region's rural primary schools and quality of life. Since 2009 they have partnered with Wheels 4 Life to provide various groups, families, and individuals with bicycles, helping them to break the distance barrier and empower their journeys through the region.
CBIRD recently received a donation of 50 Wheels 4 Life bikes, 10 of which were funded by TENWAYS. This batch of bicycles was earmarked for three distinct groups of local community workers, to support them in delivering much-needed services. Let's find out a bit more about the new bike-owners and their stories!
Primary school teachers
The fundamental difference that the ability to travel quickly on two wheels makes is clear when speaking to Mr. Sserugo Joseph, a primary school teacher. He describes life before receiving his bike. "Distance [of travel] to school is a major factor that directly or indirectly affects the quality of education. Due to long distances to and from school, I have been able to give only 1.3 hours a day to my students compared to the 6 hours I am supposed to give them. I thank the donors for standing in our shoes and [providing] this bike which I call a Machine for Change."
Something as simple as a single bike not only makes Sserugo's journey a little easier, but also enhances the learning experience of all the children to whom he provides an education.
Environmental conservation team leaders
Another major focus for CBIRD is helping to inspire and educate local communities regarding the importance of caring for the environment. This includes alerting them to the threats posed by deforestation, irresponsible plastics dumping, and various forms of pollution. Their campaign, "bulungibwansi", which means "welfare of the country", is proving to bring about effective and positive change, and is led by volunteer environmental conservation teams who encourage community members to become waste managers.
One of the team leaders, Ms. Nnabulime Justine, said as she received the bike, "As champions of environmental conservation, a chance has come. Distance barrier is broken now. We can reach out to many people and share with them a word to restore our torn environment. Two wheels will make a difference in the fight to restore the lost natural environment."
Local community mediators
Sadly, there are families experiencing domestic violence in the region CBIRD serves, with many children dropping out of school or leaving home as a result. Volunteer professionals in the fields of counselling and mediation are reaching out to those affected in order to seek solutions; the bikes donated help these volunteers to reach many more families than would be possible otherwise. As Jude Muleke says, "We shall overcome it! Thank you very much!"
Who are Wheels 4 Life?
Wheels 4 Life is a non-profit charity which aims to help people break through the poverty barrier with the gift of two wheels. They work with various local organizations and volunteers in the field, who help to identify those people in genuine need of a bike. For people living in remote places or locations with poor infrastructure, where the closest school or doctor might be 30 km away, a bike can make all the difference to a person's quality of life.
Find out more about Wheels 4 Life in our earlier blog here.
Let's hear from the Tenwayers!
Speaking about the difference the Wheels 4 Life bike donations make, CBIRD's Jude Muleke says, "We cannot thank Wheels 4 Life enough and those many charities that support Wheels 4 Life for taking notice of the remarkable impact those bicycles can have in our rural isolated communities in Uganda." This has truly reinforced our heartfelt belief in the power of two wheels to help change the world for the better!
We know the worldwide Tenwayers community is full of riders doing their own bit for people and the planet in so many different ways; we'd love to hear your stories in our Facebook Community Group!