World Bicycle Relief Project, Zambia
A volunteer chats with trainee bike mechanics sponsored by Trek in Zambia
Trek has partnered with World Bicycle Relief and humanitarian organisations to donate bicycles and train mechanics to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Zambia.
Aiming to provide 23,000 bicycles to community-based healthcare workers, disease prevention educators, and school children and their families, World Bicycle Relief’s Project Zambia is battles to make sure healthcare and education reach those directly affected by HIV/AIDS.
Project Zambia also strives to train and equip more than 400 bicycle mechanics, as well as provide loans to those in need. The programme seeks to help more than 500,000 adults, orphans and children.
In October and November of 2008, Elaine Burke, philanthropist and mother of Trek Bicycle President John Burke, travelled throughout Zambia with a team of volunteers.
"Our goal was to identify and distribute bicycles to those who could benefit most from them," said Burke. "We visited schools, healthcare workers, and businesses across the country to explain the programme and identify those who could really use a bike."
Bicycles allow healthcare workers, educators, school children and business people to travel greater distances more quickly, all with less fatigue and while carrying significantly more supplies.
The volunteers also explored World Bicycle Relief’s mechanic education programme, which is training 400 Zambians to service bicycles and run repair businesses.
"Zambians really use their bikes, and eventually they break down," remarked Burke. "A week-long training programme teaches mechanics how to repair bikes and how to run a bike repair business. Teaching them how to run a profitable business in addition to bicycle repair helps make the programme even more sustainable."