How African women gain momentum with bicycles

Using their Buffalo Bicycles to access education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, African women are building a brighter future on their own two wheels. Join us in celebrating these Women In Motion and learn about how they use bikes to change the world around them.


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.

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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. 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 children’s college education.

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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.

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Universe Shaputo 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.

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Even the most robust bicycle needs maintenance, particularly in the harsh conditions of rural Africa. Making strides in a profession dominated by men, Mary Mwanza, 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.

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Widowed in 2010, 68-year-old Georgina Stimbeko 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.

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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 college classes. “I always want to be helping people,” Loveness says.

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Thokozani Zandi’s hard work earned her 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.

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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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