BWorks has been partnering with other nonprofits such as the Village Bicycle Project for decades now to find great homes for some of the bicycles donated to BWorks. The bicycles we donate to these groups are mechanically in good shape but might be overbuilt for even St. Louis’ pothole-riddled streets — or just don’t fit our needs for local students for one reason or another.
Here are a few of the student stories from Sierra Leone, where young people recently earned refurbished sets of wheels from us. Each of these bicycles came from a container BWorks staff and volunteers loaded earlier this year. (Read more below the pictures)
Eighteen-year-old Memunatu B. Kamara lives in a remote village called Katick within Masemira chiefdom. She always woke up very early in the morning to walk an extremely long distance — 14 miles round trip — to attend school each day. Spending a total of about six hours on the road, she was often late for school. Memunatu lost her father a few years ago and lives with an older family member who depends on subsistence farming to survive. In the midst of these struggles, Memunatu still has the courage to achieve her goals. Her dream is to become a nurse, but a lack of access to resources has made it difficult for her to pursue her dreams. Memunatu is thrilled, as evidenced by the smile on her face, to receive a bicycle. She’s now determined to never be late for school, and to let nothing stop her from pursuing success.
Abdul Kanu. He lives in a remote village called Magbenthor and is a student at Saint Anthony Of Padua Secondary School Masemira. Abdul, 18, recently received a bicycle from the Village Bicycle Project. He used to walk a total of 16 miles to and from school, taking him a full six hours a day as he sought access to the only secondary school in the community. He’s passionate about becoming a lawyer, and with the energy he can now save while pursuing his education, his academic performance will surely benefit. Abdul was happy to receive a bicycle because of how it helps connect him to his dream for the future.
Adamsay J. Bangura is an instructor at the Saint Anthony Of Padua Secondary School Masemira. She lives in a remote village called Rofothaneh, nearly four miles away from the school. A community teacher and head of the department of home economics, she recently received a bicycle from the Village Bicycle Project, which allows her to significantly reduce the amount of time she spends getting to and from work. She is very passionate about her job and about helping her students regularly ace the BECE (Basic Education Certificate Examination)
examination and go on to big things.
For Adamsay M. Kargbo, 13, having a bicycle is a huge deal: it’s the first time she’s owned one. And while Adamsay has two brothers and three sisters eager to enjoy the bike as well, she prizes her new possession as her daily ride to school. Sometimes she will allow her father to borrow it to take to the farm, and so it’s been helpful to him as well. Having a bicycle also allows Adamsay to sleep later, knowing she has a bicycle to more quickly get herself to school in time for its 8 a.m. start.
Idrissa M. Conteh, 16, is excited to benefit from owning his first-ever bicycle. He says he and his sister, who both attend the same school, will both benefit from the new set of wheels. Idrissa is urging the Village Bicycle Project to send more bikes, as he and his sister are far from alone in covering many, many miles on foot to get to school on a daily basis.
Sixteen-year-old Hassanatu S. Turay used to have to wake up at 5:30 a.m. each day just to get to school by 8 a.m. But now that she has her very first bicycle, the 12 miles she needs to cover will go a lot faster and easier. Sibling to four sisters and three brothers, Hassanatu is sharing the bike with a brother who attends the same school as she does.
About three months ago, at the age of 17, Abdul A. Koroma learned to ride on two wheels. His motivation for doing so? Hearing that the Village Bicycle Project opportunity was headed to his school. The youngest of three siblings, he’s the only one using his bicycle to go to school — and is also using his new wheels to get to the market to buy food for the whole family.
Fifteen-year-old Osman A.Turay is now the proud owner of his very first bicycle. He and one of his two brothers will both make use of it as they attend the same school. They used to walk a total of four miles most days in order to access their lessons, with their mother paying for a motorbike on certain days as well. This will be a welcome change for the boys, and the whole family.