3 years ago when we sent our first container of bikes to Namibia, Michael and I had no idea what would happen or where it would go. Since then, many groups or chapters have organized and together with BEN, Bicycles Empowerment Network have helped many communities in Namibia with the gift of mobility and the hope for a better life.
Bicycles for Humanity, in a short time has become a global movement with chapters everywhere supporting the incredible efforts of Michael and his team in Namibia. Mobility is a problem that impacts all in Africa and in many countries globally. Being a part of this program initially was exciting and but recently, it has become haunting. The past year,I have been receiving emails from many groups in Africa wanting access to bicycles and to become a part of Bicycles for Humanity. My response to all was the same, sorry, not at this time, we are only focusing on Namibia, you have to go without, we cannot help you, and the response back was always the same, thank you, please do not forget us, hopefully in the future you can help us.
At first, I accepted this, I was the one who wrote the emails and the more I said no, the more miserable I became and the more I distanced myself from Bicycles for Humanity. Then, I remembered we are a movement and all can do whatever they want and it got me to thinking. If we could make it work in Namibia, than why not develop a template that will allow many in different countries to help themselves. We had created a template that did work and we could keep it going, while reinventing ourselves to help many more in other countries.
As a movement, we have strong teams in place to support Namibia and with all we have done, It is simply time to build a model that hopefully others globally can help themselves with help from Bicycles for Humanity. I have struggled with what to do and have decided that building a template to help all who need access to mobility is something that is needed.