Re~cycle Keeps the Wheels Turning
08 Sep 2009
Re~cycle, an Essex-based charity in the UK, has recently shipped its 30,000th second-hand bicycle to Africa.
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Re~cycle, an Essex-based charity in the UK, has recently shipped its 30,000th second-hand bicycle to Africa. Donated by Trevor Moles, from Colchester, the vehicle originally belonged to his wife’s aunt. Due to an injury, she was unable to ride it anymore and was enthusiastic for it to benefit someone else.
The organisation was set up by Merlin Matthews, who began fixing bicycles in his spare time at University. “A lady came to me for advice about starting up a bike factory on the Caribbean island of Haiti,” says Merlin. “She had seen the need for cheap, pollution-free transport out there. I realised there were lots of bikes being thrown away that could be fixed and sent out for others to use.”
Merlin set up a workshop in Haiti but as he says: “I realised that I would be of more use if I spent my time in the UK, fundraising, sorting out the bikes and shipping them out.” On returning home, he and his team expanded the scheme to also send their refurbished bicycles to Africa. Children there, often have to walk miles each day to go to school and back. Riding a bicycle can dramatically cut down the time it takes. This type of transport also means health workers can visit patients in remote areas, as well as being an invaluable asset for farmers who need to take their goods to market.
Re~cycle collect any unwanted bicycles from individuals and organisations, such as the Royal Mail. All the vehicles are thoroughly checked over, repaired and then shipped to several locations on the continent, including Ghana, Namibia and Liberia. Re~cycle’s African partners distribute the bicycles and offer their new owners repair and maintenance training.
If you have an old bike lying in your garage collecting dust, polish it off and take it to Re~cycle to help them send their 40,000th bicycle!
Contact: Re~cycle, Unit A Global Park, Moorside, Colchester, Essex, CO1 2TJ
Tel: +44 (0)1206 863 111
A bicycle ambulance saves lives by improving access to healthcare through safe, effective and sustainable medical transportation
Photo: courtesy of Bicycling Empowerment Network Namibia
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