A promotional video for the 2012 Bikes 4 Life Uganda Project. Featuring the honorable Dr. Olara Otunnu, UPC President and former UN Under Secretary General for the Office of Children and Armed Conflict.
Ebony and Bikes 4 Life Featured Story on The Project, Channel 10 Australia, November 2011
Bikes 4 Life is dedicated to raising bicycles to send to Northern Uganda‘s most neglected and war-ravaged regions, as tools for life and to enable access the most basic needs for one’s livelihood. We are also providing bicycles to former child soldiers and victims of war, to aid in their rehabilitation efforts and to act as a mode of transport to increase their self-esteem and enable them to have a better chance at finding work and successfully re-integrating into society post rehabilitation.
Northern Uganda has suffered the fate of a brutal 22 year long war, has been victim to the most horrific atrocities known to man and now the people are subject to extreme poverty, disease, famine and political instability. The region of the North was recently stated by a UN official as being “the most under-reported humanitarian disaster of all time.” In order to survive in post war Northern Uganda, extensive help is needed. We are dedicated to supporting their fight for life, recovery and peace.
The donated and restored bicycles will go to former child soldiers in rehabilitation, children in orphanages and to the most isolated and needy villages in the region to provide access to basic human needs such as food, water and vital medical aid. Bicycles also increase school attendance rates, proven through the work of of The World Bicycle Relief, where attendance in one city they supplied bicycles to went up by around 400%.
We hold weekly workshops for volunteers and supporters, open to the wider community, encouraging children and marginalised groups to come down and be a part of our group. It has been running every Sunday for the past 6 months and has been a huge success. We hold a free BBQ for all who attend, be it those who help repair bikes, or other that come to show support and introduce new people to our project. We usually have local musicians play on the day and have turned it into a really enjoyable day for all, with kids checking bikes by riding them around the street, girls painting the not so pretty bicycles and celebrities and local identities appearing to give us a hand and help us get more exposure in the media. People come by just to meet the team and see what we are doing, and some end up becoming valued members of our team. Family, friends, local businesses, sponsors, supporters, followers and the general public are always welcomed to come and see us in action, and once they come the first time, they always come back again. It really is a great day that is a lot of fun and at the same time, is helping people’s lives dramatically. Bike donors come and drop of a bike or two, or in some cases, buy a bike as we also have a range of brand new, collectors and vintage bicycles for sale that are not suitable for Africa, and the money we can make by selling them is much more beneficial as it helps us to purchase the many necessary tools, repair kits, accessories and bike parts, with the remaining funds going directly towards transport (freight) and on the ground logistics in Africa.
On the 1st of May DJ Mark John entertained our volunteers, supporters and friends at our weekly Bikes 4 Life workshop & BBQ in Port Melbourne…. It was a spectacular day!!
Furthermore, we are planning to set up a Bikes 4 Life Program at Friends of Orphans Child Soldier Rehabilitation Centre in Pader, Northern Uganda. The program will work as a new skill based learning initiative, whereby children will learn how to repair, maintain and build bicycles. This program is aimed at aiding economic development and to give the children a better opportunity for employment once rehabilitation has ended and they are forced to return home to their villages or camps, and create a life for oneself. We have other ideas for sustainable development that we will Bikes 4 Life will also be documented on film and will be a major element of the documentary ‘Child Troopers’, as well as a stand alone piece for TV, about the project itself, the people involved and the people it helps!
See: http://bikes4life.com.au for more information or to get involved!
Bikes 4 Life Media Launch Event, Riva 2010: