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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2017

Local Rotarians support World Bicycle Relief Mission

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jul 10, 2017
Photo by: Nicole Major/Ledger staff writer Rotarians drum up support for World Bicycle Relief Mission during Fairfield First Fridays. From left are Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, Dave Reiff, John Loin and Josh Laraby.

The Fairfield Rotary Club hopes to lend a helping hand by offering a set of wheels to those in developing countries who might face barriers when it comes to accessing education, health care and economic opportunities.

“Our project for fiscal year 2017-18 for District 6000 is to participate in this project that provides bikes to students in developing countries,” said local Rotarian John Loin.

The Rotary Club is supporting World Bicycle Relief Mission, a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that was founded in 2005 by F.K. Day and Leah Missbauch Day in response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

According to the organization’s website, since its inception, the World Bicycle Relief has distributed more than 350,000 bicycles across Africa, Southeast Asia and South America.

Currently, the organization is working to help provide rural Zambians with transportation for school, health care volunteers to make visits, for farmers to deliver their products to consumers or the market, for teachers to get to rural areas and for workers to be able to get to their jobs.

“These bicycles are like their Honda Civics,” Loin said, explaining that anyone could help by purchasing a bicycle that would be delivered to someone in need for $147.

According to a Rotary Club news release, the bicycles serve families much like cars and small trucks do in the United States, and on average, one bicycle changes the lives of five people.

“The bicycles are shipped and assembled in Zambia by bicycle mechanics,” Loin said.

According to the organization’s website, it has trained more than 1,600 bicycle mechanics who learn to put the heavy duty utilitarian “Buffalo” bicycles together once they arrive at a given destination. The program aims to create new economic opportunities by training field mechanics and employing bicycle assemblers.

This is the first time the organization has partnered with a Rotary district. World Bicycle Relief intends to use District 6000 as a template to expand this opportunity to other Rotary districts worldwide.

According to the release, no global grant paperwork is needed to donate, and World Bicycle Releif monitors and evaluates their programs and bicycle designs to ensure they meet user needs.

“It’s just $147 per bicycle delivered to Zambia,” said Loin, who can be reached at 233-0765 for more info.

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