Project “Bikes for Kenya”
The initiative is being launched this fall at my proposal, collaborating with the NGO since 2013 when I volunteered in the village of Kimuka, Maasailand, Kajiado County. My job there had been to participate in the development of various initiatives in the primary school of the village. I was walking every day on my way from the volunteers’ house to school, as I found out about the great mobility difficulties that many students suffered to attend daily at school. Talking to the students I discovered that in many cases the students had to invest from 30min to 1h per journey, sometimes arriving to travel of more than 10km. In these walks through forest tracks are not accompanied by adults and the smaller ones walk alone or in any case following their older siblings.
This is a situation that is repeated in many rural areas of Africa where public transport services are non-existent and the population does not have its own vehicle.
Kimuka Primary School
My passion for the world of bicycles is well known, so I think seriously about the possibility of starting a bicycle collection campaign used in Canyelles. Last spring, contacted a colleague from a Vilanova institute, who had participated in a campaign of this kind organized by her institute in collaboration with the NGO of Sant Pere de Ribes Kalilu Jammeh. The NGO collaborates with the people of the Gambia so the costs to ship there are reduced.
Below are the shipping companies of the Port of Barcelona that offer regular lines to the port of Mombasa in Kenya and we find prices that even using consolidated companies are beyond our reach. In addition, we also make diligences to know the final destination of the bicycles stolen and recovered by the local police of Vilanova with negative results because there is another beneficial organization that remains.
After talking to a worker in the Department of Cooperation of the city council of Vilanova we opt for an alternative route and it really makes more sense: to get the bicycles in Nairobi, Kenya and move them to the village of Kimuka. In this way we get in touch with the NGO World Bicycle Relief, an organization that mobilizes human and economic resources to bring bicycles to rural areas throughout Africa. The NGO has a program called BEEP: The Bicycle Education Empowerment Program that offers families special bikes designed by the organization, Buffalo bicycles, fully adapted to the transport of goods and people on these forest tracks, offering a great capacity for Load, resistance and cheap and easy to change components. They train local mechanics who are responsible for the maintenance of bicycles and the assembly of vehicles to own factories in the countries of origin.
At the end of the autumn the director of his delegation in Nairobi confirms the price for bicycles: 16500 KES (local currency Kenyan) or the same, 165 USD (€ 141).
A few kilometers from Kimuka, in the city of Karen, there are two workshops where the maintenance and repair of bicycles can be done.
To obtain the necessary funds for the purchase of some bicycles, I organized on behalf of Jambo volunteers a solidarity group framed in the activities of the Santa Llúcia Fair in Canyelles, on 3-4 December. The participation of the students has been very positive and the students who have actively collaborated in the collection received a certificate of participation.
The money collected at the Fair is a total of 130 EUR. That is why if the City Council of Canyelles were generously added to the collection of money we could buy 1-5 bicycles depending on the final amount of money.
In order to officially obtain a donation from the City Council to carry out the project we are going to the local authorities.
Sergi Garcia Luque
Professor of Secondary School of the INS Pla del Bosc