Loading The Village Bicycle Project’s 100th Container for Africa

This weekend the three of us had a great time volunteering with the Village Bicycle Project, loading hundreds of used bicycles, parts, and new tools onto a container bound for Ghana.  In the last decade, the all-volunteeer Village Bicycle Project has shipped more than 45,000 used bicycles to Africa.  This weekend’s effort was hard work, fun, and also a celebration–we were loading the Project’s 100th container.

The bicycles are staged outside the container and then loaded by size like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
The bicycles are staged outside the container and then loaded by size like a giant jigsaw puzzle.
VBP founder David Peckham (center, in baseball cap) loads a bike into the container.

While spending time in rural east Africa, we had a chance to witness firsthand the importance of bicycles for village families.  A bicycle can make all the difference in access to health care, education, markets, and other opportunities.  Literally, a bicycle can lift a family out of poverty, and into sustainability.  But the Village Bicycle Project doesn’t just throw bikes at people–they have a solid distribution process on the ground, providing tools and  training in  bicycle maintenance to individuals and communities, with an emphasis on involving women and girls.  Good, good folks.

Claire adds to the giant pile of tires, while volunteers remove pedals and turn handlebars in the background.
After 100 containers, experienced VBP volunteers have it down to a science how to pack the maximum number of bicycles into a container.

Check out the Project’s new website.  They list all kinds of ways to donate bicycles at sites across the USA, donate money, or volunteer.

On his last trip to Mozambique, Tom met this man Rafael who had ridden 8 kilometers with his two children on the back of his bicycle, in order to have a doctor at this Catholic hospital look at a rash his son had suddenly developed.
The bicycle parking area outside the outpatient clinic. There was no parking lot for cars because none of the patients and very few of the clinicians can afford them.

PS: If you are interested in bicycles in Africa, or bicycles in general, then head on over to Tom’s great blog Bikejuju.com.


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  3. Kwasi Sefa Antwi

    Am a philanthropist based in Denmark and wish to send some bicycles to Africa for Charity. I will be very grateful if you can help by educating me on the number of bicycles i can park in a 40 foot container. Thanks and hoping to hear from you soon. Mobile:0045 71330397

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