Charity Msendo, a 27-year-old single mother in Zimbabwe, has built a thriving business on the back of her bike and she’s just getting started. In June 2013, after saving for more than a year and traveling in excess of 80 miles to make the purchase, Charity invested in her own Buffalo Bicycle. She uses her bike to grow her produce business and has become part of our spare parts distribution network by providing access to spare parts for her village. Always eager to move ahead, Charity is saving much of her earnings for her childrens’ college education.
Celestina is a volunteer healthcare worker who focuses on serving local communities in Lake Victoria, Kenya. She travels by bicycle to reach and serve clients and to lead information sessions teaching men, women and children about the realities of HIV. In addition to offering counseling and support, Celestina transports patients to the local Drop in Center where they can access life saving care.
Two-time Ironman World Champion Mirinda Rinny Carfrae has taken action by turning her passion for pedaling into progress and hope for World Bicycle Relief. But breaking records and keeping stride with the boys is not the only thing Rinny focuses on. She continues to inspire through her role as the inaugural Team WBR Ambassador, encouraging others to use their talents to help mobilize individuals and communities through the Power of Bicycles.
Even the most robust bicycle needs maintenance, particularly in the harsh conditions of rural Africa. Making strides in a profession dominated by men, Mary, a trained field mechanic, has no problem acquiring new customers. Mary’s groundbreaking role as a female bicycle mechanic is unique and admired by her community; the quality of her work is top-notch, earning repeat customers for her business.
In July 2013, sisters Caroline (left) and Corinne (right) met Ethel on an Africa Rides trip in Zambia. The three girls spent the day together riding bikes, fetching water and working their way through other daily chores. One month later, Caroline completed a fundraising century ride, raising more than $20,000 to help supply bikes to more students like Ethel. At the same time, Ethel has mobilized her community by using her bicycle to transport fellow classmates to school. Though thousands of miles apart, these girls continue to inspire change in each other and their communities.
As Warehouse Controller, Linda is the gatekeeper for World Bicycle Relief’s assembly facility in Lusaka, Zambia. She’s the first person in the office in the morning and the last one out at the end of day. In 2014 alone, she helped shepherd the assembly of nearly 17,000 Buffalo Bicycles while simultaneously tending to spare parts sales and facility tours. Linda is committed to the Power of Bicycles and inspiring change in her world.
In just four years, Evelyn “Evie” Stevens made the improbable leap from a New York investment firm to the road course of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Evie has now set her sights on Olympic Gold in 2016, but along the way continues to give back. In 2013, Evie raced the Trois Etapes to benefit World Bicycle Relief and traveled to Zambia to see first-hand how bicycles are mobilizing people in the developing world. Whether training for the Olympics, visiting student in Zambia, or supporting CYCLE Kids, Evie is fulfilling her dreams and inspiring change.
As a volunteer health worker in Sori, Kenya, Kesia travels long distances through harsh conditions to reach clients affected by HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and gender-based violence. Before receiving a bicycle, Kesia was able to visit only four clients each day. Making the trips by bike, she now meets regularly with three groups- that’s 75 individuals receiving care each day. Kesia shares the benefit of a bicycle with her community by transporting clients to the local care center for treatment.
Sisters Pam Keith and Kim Lubenow-Wiley spent the past year spreading word of the Power of Bicycles in memory of Pam’s late husband, Bill Keith. Picking up where he left off, the two have continued his support of World Bicycle Relief by sharing our message of simple, sustainable bicycle transportation and how it’s mobilizing girls in the developing world. Traveling to Zambia in May, the sisters participated in a bicycle distribution ceremony at Chibombo primary school where they met students and families directly mobilized by their fundraising efforts. Showing no signs of slowing down, Pam and Kim are inspiring change wherever they go.
The most challenging of Noreen’s many daily chores is fetching water. Noreen fetches water 2-3 times a day, traveling about a mile each time. Walking on its own could take 10-15 minutes at a good clip, but doing so while carrying 40 pounds of water easily doubles that. Now that she has a bicycle, Noreen can complete this task in less time with less effort, increasing the time she has for focusing on schoolwork and catching up with friends.
In 2004, Leah Missbach Day saw first-hand the devastation of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. She also saw the incredible potential for utilizing bikes to reconnect the community with education, healthcare and employment. Leah’s photography and stories from Sri Lanka helped launch World Bicycle Relief and continue to illuminate voices from the field. Whether on the ground with students in Zimbabwe or acting as an ambassador for WBR’s work here in the U.S., Leah’s passion for the Power of Bicycles is inspiring change around the world.
Success in the Qhubeka Trees-For-Bikes program in South Africa earned Thokozani Zondi the opportunity to train as an assembler for World Bicycle Relief. Immediately upon employment, she assumed a lead role in the facility and quickly moved into managing both fork and bottom bracket assembly, two of the most essential components of a bicycle. Through her work, Thokozani is helping to mobilize students and entrepreneurs in South Africa where the Power of Bicycles can change lives and transform communities.
Jemila lives in Migori, Kenya where she is a volunteer caregiver treating local sex workers. In addition to her work and raising her family, Jemila arranges group meetings where she provides educational information on protection, HIV testing and counseling for HIV positive living. With distance as a barrier to vital resources such as healthcare, education and economic opportunity, Jemila is making a difference by using her bicycle to help mobilize her community.
When describing Rebecca Rusch’s athletic achievements, it may be easier to talk about what she hasn’t done. Despite all her accolades, Rebecca takes no time to rest on her laurels. This year, she gives back through the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour, getting more women on bikes, and her own Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel century held in Ketchum, Idaho to benefit World Bicycle Relief, People For Bikes and the Wood River Bicycle Coalition. Rebecca has used the Power of Bicycles to mobilize people around the world and in her own backyard.
Before receiving her bicycle, Afling used her own money to cover transportation costs for visiting two HIV/AIDS patient groups in Migori, Kenya. As a volunteer healthcare worker living positively with HIV, this alone shows her dedication to provide for her community. Now that Afling has a bicycle, she is able to treat five patient groups two times per week and uses the savings of time and money to provide more for her family.
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