World Bicycle Relief, the global nonprofit that mobilizes people through the Power of Bicycles®, today announced the successful conclusion of its mid-year fundraising campaign, “Women on Wheels.” Capped by the second annual Pedal to Empower event, which united more than 900 riders in a global cycling activation on June 5, the campaign raised more than USD $1 million.
“Our organization is committed to empowering women and girls with life-changing bicycles,” said Dave Neiswander, CEO of World Bicycle Relief. “Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality in many regions of the world, we are grateful to everyone who contributed to the Women on Wheels campaign, which will help mobilize 8,000 more women and girls to pursue a brighter future.”
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing cultural obstacles that limit women’s access to education, well-paid employment, reproductive healthcare, and property rights. As communities begin to rebuild from the pandemic, women and girls are at risk of being left behind. Existing gender disparities in developing regions have only increased. With bicycles, women and girls have the opportunity to build back stronger. World Bicycle Relief seeks to ensure they not only rebound but thrive.
Several generous corporate and foundation partners, including Akuna Capital, Liv Cycling, Saris, and Trek, supported the Women on Wheels campaign and the June 5 Pedal to Empower events.
During Pedal to Empower, 920 riders in 33 countries participated virtually and at in-person rides in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, collectively raising more than $450,000 to mobilize women and girls in need. Some notable participants included: the Canyon/SRAM Women’s cycling team, the Trek-Segafredo cycling team, sports broadcaster Orla Chennaoui, Peta Mullins of the Roxsolt Liv SRAM women’s team, and Natalia Francov of TWENTY24 Pro Cycling.
“I don’t think there is a more important cause than providing girls an equal opportunity to education,” said Akuna Capital CEO Andrew Killion. “Aside from all the other benefits, and equitable and human rights reasons to support this, it’s also the best path to preventing overpopulation. When girls and women have access to education, they generally choose to have fewer kids. Instead, they pursue careers, open businesses, and gain financial independence.”
With access to bicycles, women and girls unlock their potential and focus on education, feel safer, obtain vital healthcare services, and achieve greater earning potential. Here are examples of women and girls whose lives have benefited from World Bicycle Relief:
- Annie Chisale, a World Bicycle Relief-trained bicycle mechanic in Malawi: “I am trying to dismiss the myth that only men can fix bicycles. Being the first woman mechanic, the youth in our village look up to me and understand that they can do anything to improve their lives and the community. I am a role model and am proud of that. Women can.”
- Zule Quintero, a member of the Food and Agricultural Organization in La Paz, Colombia, formerly spent $100 per month to commute to and from her work transporting produce. When she received her Buffalo Bicycle from World Bicycle Relief, she was able to use that money for food and school fees for her children instead. “The bicycle has been of great benefit to me,” says Zule, who now has the tool she needs to carry her through the pandemic and beyond.
- Malawi teen mothers Maggie and Febby, profiled in a short film, “The Comeback Girls,” know that a bicycle means the difference between staying in school or not – and consequently, a better future for themselves and their daughters, or not. A Buffalo Bicycle is the critical tool that helps these young mothers strive to finish their education despite an almost two-hour walk to school.
Concluded Neiswander: “The Women on Wheels campaign and Pedal to Empower will have a lasting positive impact on girls and women throughout the world, and we thank all who helped us make a difference.”
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About World Bicycle Relief
Founded in 2005, World Bicycle Relief mobilizes people through The Power of Bicycles®. World Bicycle Relief accomplishes its mission by distributing specially designed, high-quality bicycles through philanthropic and social enterprise programs. These purpose-designed bicycles are built to withstand the challenging terrain and conditions in rural, developing areas.
In areas where transportation options are limited, a bike is a life-changing tool that helps girls transform their futures. Entrepreneurs use bicycles to increase productivity and profits. Students attend class more regularly and their academic performances improve. And health workers visit more patients in less time, providing better, more consistent care. World Bicycle Relief also promotes local economies and long-term sustainability by assembling bicycles locally and training field mechanics to service the bicycles.
To date, World Bicycle Relief has delivered 550,742 bicycles and trained more than 2,500 field mechanics in Africa, Southeast Asia and South America. World Bicycle Relief is a registered nonprofit in the USA, Canada, U.K., Germany, Switzerland, and Australia, and has assembly facilities in Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.