Someone else’s bike changed Linda’s life

On a recent trip to Zambia, some World Bicycle Relief team members, including Co-Founder Leah Missbach Day, had the opportunity to visit a school in the Mumbwa District participating in our bicycle programming.

“I witnessed students proudly present songs and poems all relaying gratitude, for the joy and freedom they felt having bicycles,” says Leah. 

One student, in particular, caught her attention. 

“When Linda shared her poem, calling herself “untouchable” on her ride to and from school … It gave me chills.”

Yet, Linda doesn’t own a Buffalo Bicycle of her own. 

Instead, she’s one of the many who benefit from what we call the “multiplier effect.” One bike averages five lives impacted as it’s shared within a family or community. 

That means, with 779,000 bicycles distributed since 2005, nearly 3.9 million people have seen the impact of two wheels.

The 16-year-old lives with her grandmother, a healthcare worker who received the bicycle to support her role in the community. When not using it herself, she allows Linda to ride the bike to school. As a result, Linda arrives with more energy and feels safer on the road.

Thanks to her grandmother’s Buffalo, Linda sees a brighter future ahead. She dreams of completing her education and one day becoming a nurse.

The transformative impact of bicycles

Inspired by her newfound mobility, Linda took the opportunity to appear with fellow classmates before a group of World Bicycle Relief team members. She says she wrote the poem to help her schoolmates who are bicycle recipients to show gratitude to the donors who have supported the school and the community with life-changing Buffalo Bicycles.

Titled “The Great Brilliance and Importance of Available Transport,” the poem vividly captures the transformative impact of bicycles on their lives.

We, the gallant students of the mighty primary school have entitled our poem as “The Great Brilliance and Importance of Available Transport. 

”Oh Yes! Oh Yes!
What did you just say?
What do you mean by that?
WBR are simply acronyms that stand for World Bicycle Relief. The company is indeed a relief of the country and the world at large

I used to walk 10 kilometers from home to school. I used to come late to school because of distance. Punishment by teachers because of my late coming was my breakfast.

Now because of the great Buffalo Bicycle I was given, punishment is a story of the past. I said “bye bye!” to punishment because I am the earliest at school.

I have no worries about being attacked on my way home simply because I am back home, on time. Those that had intentions of attacking me on my way I say “mwalyuma Bbi Basa” [you’ve got your own back] meaning “I am now untouchable”.

Buffalo Bike!
No!! It is not a bicycle.
Then what is it?
It is an engine for economic empowerment.
What does that mean?
It means, it is not only a bicycle, but a true vehicle for sustainable transportation.

Iyee Muue Bantu [all you people] there is a lot you can say about this bike, but due to time, we will just say Twalumba! [Thank you]
Not only that but also Twalumba! meaning thank you very much. Together we say thank you.

If a bicycle can bring this much joy through secondary use, imagine the impact we can have by providing reliable transportation to all who need it most.  Thank you for being a beacon of change.

With your support, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of individuals like Linda and her grandmother, opening doors to education, safety and empowerment.
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