How Donated Bikes Are Putting Education And Health Care Within Reach

World Bicycle Relief gets bikes to those who need them, which it says can increase access to health care, education and more.
Posted at 4:39 PM, Jul 21, 2017

Transportation can be a big barrier to accessing education or health care. But bicycles could change that.

One organization — World Bicycle Relief — is trying to get bikes to those who need them.

The program is in countries in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Donations help it supply bikes.

A majority of the bikes go to female students. And the organization says bicycles can increase a student's academic performance by up to 59 percent.

Boards of parents, leaders and teachers in local communities identify which students receive the donations.

Families and communities can also use the bikes to get to health clinics or to transport goods for family businesses.

To keep the program sustainable, local residents also can train to be bike mechanics and fix students' cycles. The training also teaches the mechanics a new skill that earns money.

Getting the bikes into communities poses some challenges. The organization says one the biggest is getting through customs and dealing with tarriffs.

Also some students don't know how to ride one, so the nonprofit shows them how to cycle safely and how to take care of them.