"There are places around the world that can be reached by bicycle
or by foot only.
In Africa it might be very difficult for some children to get to school.
Without bicycles they are not able to get there at all."
Thanks to your help, they can …
Charity organization Kola pro Afriku/Bikes for Africa was founded at the beginning of the year 2012 in the Czech Republic. The organization was inspired by the movement Bicycles for Humanity and by Jole Rider and our mission is to bring the kids in Gambia nearer to schools in a sustainable way.
To start a similar activity in the Czech Republic, we traveled to Gambia at the end of 2011. The idea of the trip was to understand the value of such help for an African country and also to witness where the donated bikes go. The result was that this journey assured us that the way of direct help in the form of bikes has a big meaning. Meeting a kid in Gambia who got the bike for going to school is a really amazing moment. We also believe that the whole project has its positive meaning not only for children in Africa, but also it brings lots of goodness to Czech society where such an activity doesn’t have a long tradition.
The organization Bikes for Africa is based on donation and volunteering and we are very happy that the Czech people are interested in the project and are eager to help. In the last two years people donate roughly 13 thousand bicycles in different condition for children in Gambia. There are 120 collecting points all over the country where people can donate their bicycles. We work in collaboration with the organization called Nová šance (New Chance) in Ostrava, this organization helping former prisoners and homeless people. We are glad the organization has provided us with premises for a central warehouse, where the bikes are stored and repaired. It’s also a great chance for the unemployed and clients from Nová šance to work on bicycles, gain some new experience and gradually get involved in the society. Another social project started last year in prison in Ostrava. Prisoners maintain bicycles for children in Gambia since summer 2013.
Charity organization Bikes for Africa works with Czech schools, parishes, companies, municipalities, media and handicapped people. There are projects called “Children helping children”. Children from all over the country helping through their activities – Snowmen for Africa, Charity run for Gambia. Very successful are also beneficial events – for example The Colours of Ostrava with activity Rent a bike which helps to transport bikes to Gambian children.
The first 350 bikes were sent from Czech Republic to Gambian children in spring 2013. Another 1144 bikes were shipped during winter 2013/2014. There is organized a bicycle maintenance workshops with Gambian mechanics always when the bicycles are distributed to schools in Gambia. The participants of the workshop are trained as school mechanics to be responsible for sustainability of a project. Every school with donated bikes must have at least one capable person – cycle mechanic who will take care of the bikes´ functionality and will also educate local school children to repair their bikes. Next 829 bikes were sent to children to Gambia in spring 2014. In total there are 2324 donated bicycles in Gambia since we started with the project in 2012.
Having said our work is not based only on collecting old bikes and their reusing in Gambia but also helping people in Czech Republic.
The bikes´ journey is fairly long. It begins with great people - volunteers who decided to establish a collecting point for donated bikes and to devote to it much of their free time and energy just for help someone else who they never saw, who they don´t know.