When we first met Loveness in 2009, she was walking nearly nine kilometers to and from school – a trip that would take two hours each way. Her Buffalo Bicycle cut her commute in half, enabling her to continue her education and go on to complete twelfth grade. Now, her dream of becoming a nurse is within reach, and she’s saving her money to pay for classes. I always want to be helping people, she says.
Bike Like a Girl RAAM team
Bike Like a Girl’s team roster reads like a who’s who of professional women: fighter pilot, nurse, teacher, business owner, coach, and federal public defender. As only the second 8-woman team in RAAM’s history, Bike Like a Girl is riding to raise awareness and money in support of empowering girls and women through cycling. Lisa Lunt, Michelle Faurot, Kristen Seibert, Erin Kelly Ferner, Kristin Barnes, AndrÌ©a Williams, Bridget Webster, and Melissa Chick are making an impact globally, nationally, and locally by riding for World Bicycle Relief, the Women’s Cycling Association, and the Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County. WBR embodies the values and real action that we admire. As friends, mothers, partners, and professional women, every day we’re training and working hard to make our dream happen.
Widowed in 2010, 68-year-old Georgina needed to support herself by working her 21-acre farm in Zambia – difficult work under the best circumstances. Her three cows produce milk twice a day, and she needed a reliable, sturdy bike to carry the milk from her farm to the Palabana Collection center 12km away. Since purchasing her first Buffalo Bicycle in 2011, her farm has never once failed to deliver milk to the collection center, twice a day, 365 days a year. I want to tell women, especially the widows, you must keep going. When my husband passed away, I thought it was the end for me. But I knew I must keep going, so I started my business.
Highly acclaimed bicycle designer Isla Rowntree holds British national championship medals in cyclocross, road racing, mountain biking and track sprinting. Shifting her focus from competition, she put her years of design experience and practical cycling knowledge into Islabikes, a line of children’s bikes. Isla is investing in the future of cycle sport by specializing in producing quality children’s bicycles, and as a long-time supporter of WBR, she believes in the Power of Bicycles. Through her love and passion for the bicycle, she’s impacting the lives of children – one bike at a time.
Sandra Ramirez Escobar
Colombian native and artist Sandra Ramirez Escobar is adding a new line to her many accomplishments: professional mountain biker. For her one-of-a-kind helmet design, Sandra was one of the three finalists in the 2014 Nutcase Unframed Call for Artists. Her amazing work was showcased live at Eurobike and Interbike and then auctioned to benefit the work of World Bicycle Relief. Now training and painting in California, she lives her life by one word: BELIEVE!
Universe grows vegetables and prepares baked goods to sell at her shop in Palabana Market in Zambia. Before she owned a Buffalo Bicycle, her daily sales were limited to what she could carry on her back and her head. Now, she’s able to pack more in each load, and return home with enough energy to tend to her garden and cook. I’m so grateful for the bike and grateful to God for the wisdom to run my business.
Four-time Ironman World Champion and multiple world-record-holder Chrissie Wellington is a driving force for change in women’s sports. Now retired, Chrissie leads a children’s running event series in the UK, and was instrumental in a successful campaign for La Course – a women’s pro cycling race taking place at the 2015 Tour de France. She is an active supporter of WBR. Like WBR, I truly believe that bicycles can be a huge force for good: creating opportunities, building bridges, empowering people and communities, and truly catalyzing positive change.
Every morning before school, 12-year-old Tamara performs chores for her family: cooking, cleaning, fetching water and washing dishes. She then sets out on the challenging 4km walk to school. With her Buffalo Bicycle, Tamara can conquer the distance and pursue her dream of finishing school and becoming a teacher. The day Tamara received her bike, her grandmother said, When I saw Tamara’s face, I saw joy.
Entrepreneur Peggy Lindberg learned about World Bicycle Relief while on a bike trip in Zambia and quickly joined WBR’s next Africa Rides to experience firsthand how lives change with a bicycle. Now, through her business The Giving Tee, she spreads the word about WBR and how the gift of transportation impacts lives. Peggy’s motto is let your life speak, knowing that even the smallest act of kindness can make an enormous impact.
April Galda Joyce
April Galda Joyce recently left her position as COO of an insurance company to tackle the top of her bucket list: cycling across the US. Third place finisher in the 2014 Bermuda road race national championships, April is drawn to the work of WBR because it empowers women by providing bicycles. She has a motto that she lives by: Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you, whether that’s in work, sport, or life. Don’t let the opportunity to succeed, to better yourself, or to better the lives of others pass you by.
Paula Restrepo strives to make change for a better world. The economist and avid cyclist is part of a public/private partnership between WBR and PostobÌ_n, one of Colombia’s largest beverage companies and long-time sponsor of Colombian cycling. Wanting to add a program where the bicycle was used for a social purpose, PostobÌ_n is distributing up to 1600 Buffalo Bicycles this year to rural students. Education is key to development. Our goal is to improve the quality of education by reducing desertion so that students have better opportunities. Being able to provide students with the Buffalo Bicycle is a dream come true.
Explorer/adventurer Kate Leeming has cycled the equivalent of twice around the world – including a ten-month, 22,040km journey across Africa to explore the causes and effects of extreme poverty and emphasizing the positive: how to offer a leg up rather than a hand out. There, she was able to witness WBR’s work firsthand. WBR bicycles are simple, robust machines, built for the needs and conditions faced by the end-user, enabling them a practical, low-cost means to increase productivity and opportunities to lead healthier and more prosperous lives.
As HR Manager for World Bicycle Relief in Zambia, Doris Sakupwanya sees the power of bicycles every day. Her dream? To see WBR grow to become a major contributor to the African economy. As a mother of two, Doris believes that being a woman in motion means that you’re an administrator in your home and your business. A woman in motion works to empower her family.
Professional mountain biker Ines Thoma spreads the word about the Power of Bicycles everywhere she goes. The 2014 German Enduro Champion was inspired to ride not only for her team, but to help others who can better their lives with a bike after hearing about WBR. Last year, I did a Christmas campaign, knitting wool hats and selling them with proceeds going to WBR. For now, she’s living her dream traveling the world with her Enduro bike, and hopes one day to be a schoolteacher.
Dilshani was only 10 years old when the Indian Ocean tsunami devastated Sri Lanka. Getting to school was difficult and many times, unsafe. But with her Buffalo Bicycle, Dilshani was committed to finish school and become a nurse. Now 20, Dilshani is studying to become a midwife. The bicycle allows me to continue my education and follow my passion to help pregnant women. The bike’s impact on her family continues: the same bicycle that Dilshani received 10 years ago is now helping her younger sister get to school.
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