Our Aim In Africa, Bikes Save Lives!
Bikes 4 Life is a global community initiative that is dedicated to providing bicycles to people, particularly youth, who are underprivileged, aimed at helping the most vulnerable, isolated and neglected groups within society. It started with the idea to raise bikes for displaced people, former child soldiers and victims of war in Northern Uganda. We are now starting to also raise bikes for marginalized indigenous communities in Central Australia and on a local level throughout Melbourne, for disadvantaged youth and families most in need.
On the 1st of May DJ Mark John entertained our volunteers, supporters and friends at our weekly Bikes 4 Life workshop & BBQ in Port Melbourne…. It was a spectacular day!!
Project Overview – Uganda
At Bikes 4 Life we are trying to raise as many bicycles as we can to send to the most isolated, vulnerable and war-ravaged districts in Northern Uganda (Gulu, Pader and Kitgum) who have been affected by a brutal 22 year long war and neglected by the outside world. The people that live in these districts are still largely displaced and are subject to extreme poverty, mental illness, disease, famine and political instability. From the camps basic health care, education, food and water is largely inaccessible. However with bicycles as a mode of transport, civilians will have an increased chance at surviving…. better able to access food, water, medical aid, schools and so forth. We are trying to help revive a neglected people, promoting community outreach, peace building, self esteem, personal empowerment and education.
Bicycles and the ease of transport to locations they provide have the potential to save the lives of men, women and children that are dying everyday due to preventable diseases. Bicycles are also beneficial in terms of the economic recovery, aiding in areas such as agriculture. By helping the people of the North move forward in the post-war period, we hope to also promote peace and recovery, while helping to strengthen community relationships, values and structures.
The Plan…. In Australia and Beyond
As Bikes 4 Life grows we are starting to spread our wings and reach out to other communities and people in need. It started with the idea to raise bikes for displaced people in Northern Uganda and we are now starting to implement projects aimed at raising bikes for our marginalized indigenous communities and local children in need.
For bicycles intended for Africa, we plan to custom fit all bicycles in Australia before shipping them over to Uganda so that the bicycles are suited for the harsh terrains and the conditions they will be subject to. Other bicycles we receive, that may not be suitable for African terrain, will be sent to communities and marginalized groups within Australia.
We plan to send bicycles to isolated indigenous communities in central Australia which will allow education and other facilities to be more accessible. Furthermore, there are many local groups, families and individuals that we plan to provide bikes to. There are families who are robbed at Christmas time and live in near poverty. There are our disadvantaged youth that have been abused, from broken families, orphans, those with learning difficulties, kids in detention… The list goes on. These children often struggle at school, and then later in life. We want to help all of these groups by giving them a kick start and letting them know that someone cares!
Project Management Team
In September of this year, Nadia Lotter from Citrus Media joined forces with Ebony Butler, Director of Atlantic Star Productions and brainchild of ‘Bikes 4 Life’, to assist in her human rights and anti-slavery awareness campaign, which aims to see an end the use of child soldiers worldwide. Bikes 4 Life is a relatively new project within Ebony’s overall campaign to help communities she was touched by during her trip to Uganda in 2009, where she was researching and filming her documentary on child soldiers.
Ebony’s group of activists, followers and committed volunteers for ‘Bikes 4 Life’ is growing day by day. The newest members to the team include: former advertising account executive Georgia Fillmore; event manager and Ebony’s long time friend Lulu Nyrienda; respected writer and government worker Sarah Manton; mother of three Corrina Lindkvist and State Emergency Service (SES) paramedic, Tania Drummond.
Ebony has also secured a number of high profile representatives to help garner local support. ‘Bikes 4 Life’ supporters include: AFL stars Nathan Brown and Marty Pask; AFL legend Robert (Dipper) DiPier Domenico; DJ Mark John, actress and Australian personality Tottie Goldsmith; model and actress Kate Neilson; TV personality and activist Elise May and star singers such as Australian Idol 2007 winner Natalie Gauci, 16 year old singing sensation Abbey Stone and all round entertainer Georgina Ward.
Help Us To Help Others… Donate a Bicycle and Spread the Word about Bikes 4 Life!
Bikes 4 Life Media Launch Videos from 2010 at Riva: