Friday, February 29, 2008

And the beat goes on

It's almost March and the B4H team is once again gearing up and getting ready to send bicycles and soccer gear to Africa. The team has grown a lot with new chapters in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, London and Guelph having joined in the last few months and a number more just establishing new grassroots teams. Our focus this year is Namibia. Last year we sent 9 containers or BEC's, Bicycle Empowerment Centres to Namibia and the results of added mobility are being felt across the entire country. With the 10-15 more BEC's this year, we will have established a program that will hopefully become a model that all African countries will follow in the future.

Grassroots Aids Action groups are vital in the fight against Aids and we support many of them in Namibia and we will continue to do so. On our website you will see under updates links to a number of articles related to the outstanding work Mary Beth Gallagher does with children in Namibia. With children here playing soccer, they get new equipment almost every year and soccer clubs and leagues have been very generous in sending us soccer gear and with container costs based on volume, and with there being a lot of room in a container of bikes we have been adding soccer gear and children's books to the shipments. Bicyles empower people with mobility and by being able to visit more people to educate, deliver drugs and care for those that are dying. Soccer unites people and once united especially youth, it's a great way to begin the education process, this Youtube video says it all.

Bicycles for Humanity is grassroots and it will always be. The teams that come together in communities across now 4 countries are partnered with communities in Namibia and then through their own creativity, drive and passion organize fundraising efforts and collect the 400 bikes that make up a full BEC. We call these groups chapters and each team does it in their own special way and many of the team members will follow the container and visit the communities they are supporting. Chapters are forming now almost on a weekly basis and chapters that sent BEC's last year are mentoring and coaching new chapters in how to fund raise, collect bikes, get the message out, and most importantly have fun doing it. Many smaller communities or groups do not have the market or the reach to form a Chapter and this year we are initiative a new team concept within B4H called Clubs. These clubs will generally be in or near the cities where chapters have formed and they might take on collecting a smaller number of bikes and the funds to ship or just help with fundraising. They might collect soccer gear or children's books working closely with the chapters in their area to co-ordinate activities with the container loading. Civic Clubs like Rotary, Lions and faith based service groups, like the Knights of Columbus are some examples that have members that might want to help out. Some Clubs will become chapters over time, but the idea is to allow more to share in the fun of true empowerment. If you are interested in being a club or a chapter, you can gain more information by contacting us through our or through any of our chapter heads.

The actions of one individual and the efforts of teams of grassroots volunteers can and have made a difference. Being a part of a movement and sharing and knowing who you are helping and why is very rewarding and exciting and allows you to interact in communities both at home and globally in new and interesting ways.

Humanity Rocks

The B4H team

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