88bikes taking bikes to African orphans

This month, 88bikes Foundation – a micro-philanthropy project that gives bikes to kids in developing countries – will travel to the Republic of Mozambique and South Africa to deliver 500 bikes to orphans in both countries. The endowment is part of VILLAGES, 88bikes’ fifth and biggest project to date, with 1,000 bikes going to kids in need in Mongolia, Mozambique, the Navajo Nation, Nicaragua and South Africa. VILLAGES focuses on small, rural locations where the bikes can have a major impact.

The organization’s first stop will be the isolated Kapasseni Village of the Republic of Mozambique, where they will endow 200 bikes to orphans. Kapasseni is so remote that 88bikes is recruiting volunteers to ride the bikes the last 13 miles, the only way to get them there.

Next, 88bikes heads to the Joe Slovo township of South Africa, where they will present bikes to 300 orphans. This endowment will be made in collaboration with ArtWorks for Youth, a nonprofit that provides free after school visual art instruction, mentoring, and academic support to under-served students in South Africa. The bikes will be integrated into ArtWorks’ curriculum, and volunteers will follow up this summer with workshops and bike rides.

In both countries, a “hub” bike shop will be built or designated in central locations where children can gather for workshops and apprenticeships. 88bikes volunteers will staff the bike shops and work with local mechanics to conduct the trainings.

To date, more than 1,000 new bikes have distributed to local children through donations of $88 per bike to the VILLAGES project. VILLAGES is also being sponsored by expedition gear manufacturer Eddie Bauer/First Ascent through their “Be First” program.

88bikes was started in 2006 by Dan Austin, Nicolas Arauz, and Jared Austin. In November 2006, 88bikes started its first project in partnership with the Friends of Cambodian Children, to raise funds for 88 bikes. After exceeding its fundraising goal in just two weeks, the organization gave 88 bikes to 88 kids at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in January 2007.

88bikes has now completed four projects, which have brought more than 1,000 bikes to children in developing countries around the world.

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