More than 100 bikes restored by prisoners at HMP Liverpool and HMP Everthorpe have been donated to an orphanage, a primary school, a hospital and a hospice in Uganda, thanks to our partners at BeCycling Africa.The bikes were originally donated by individuals in the Bradford area of West Yorkshire and by Rotary Clubs across the country and taken by us to our workshops at the prisons.
All of our bikes have now finally reached their destination. As you all know getting them there has proved to be a very “laborious” task to say the least. That it has taken over a year from when we packed them in Keighley to them arriving in Kampala almost defies belief.
So far we have distributed bikes to an orphanage where myself, Sarah and our son, Kieran, stayed as volunteers in the west of Uganda near a town called Fort Portal. They have also received educational items that we sent across for the school they were building there. Unfortunately, the primary school there has been all but washed away in recent floods but they are very resourceful and are putting the equipment we sent to good use. Robert at the orphanage has plans to teach youngsters to ride and to use some the bikes we sent for an eco-tourism project which will bring much needed employment and income into a very deprived area.
Another batch of bikes has been delivered to a hospital in a rural suburb of Kampala. They will be used here by hospital outreach workers to visit patients who cannot travel to hospital and live in areas that would be inaccessible without the bikes.
Whilst I was in Kampala, I met a volunteer in a hospice there. A batch of bikes has gone to him so that outreach workers can access patients in rural areas, and he will also use some to go into schools and teach cycling skills and road safety awareness.
Yesterday was car free day in Kampala, and our contact there, Lubega, took some of our bikes along to raise our profile and to contribute to this worthwhile event.
I am very grateful to everyone who donated bikes, to the prisoners and Margaret Carey Foundation for restoring them, to all who helped load the container, and especially to the donors and funders of the project and I am delighted that after so much delay we have been able to make such a real difference to so many lives in some of the poorest areas in the world.
BeCycling Africa is just one of many charities that Margaret Carey Foundation supplies bikes to. Others include Jole Rider, Jubilee Outreach Yorkshire, International Aid Trust, and PhysioNet.