Colchester-based bicycle charity Re-Cycle is celebrating 20 years of sending bikes to people who need them in Africa.
Since 1998, Re-cycle has sent 98,403 bikes to 15 of the poorest countries in Africa and are hoping to send their 100,000th next month.
They believe each bike sent is used, on average, by 6 people in its lifetime, meaning Re-Cycle has touched the lives of almost 600,000 people.
The charity was first formed by a single bike enthusiast in response to a 1997 hurricane in Haiti which destroyed 80% of the country’s crops whilst killing more than 400 people.
Since then Re-Cycle has taken unwanted bikes from the UK and shipped them to Africa, where local partners refurbish and distribute them to local people.
Re-Cycle developed a relationship with Afribike, a charity in South Africa created to provide free bikes and bike repairs to poor rural residents so that they could access jobs and other opportunities outside their local area.
Claire Kettle, Re-Cycle’s operations manager said: ‘We are all very proud to be celebrating our 20th Anniversary. It’s not easy to get the containers out to our partners in Africa but we have done some amazing work other the last 20 years. Not only limited to sending bikes but also building workshops and providing bicycle maintenance training in Africa too.
‘There is still a massive need for sustainable transport in places like Ghana and Gambia, so we are aiming to send 100,000 bikes to Africa by the end of this month. To help us reach this milestone, please think about donating your disused bike to Re-Cycle this summer.
‘Many people in Africa still have no access to transport of any kind and people spend hours each day walking to collect water or to get to school or employment. A bike makes such a big difference.’
Re-Cycle accepts donated bikes at 100 places across the UK, which are then transported to Colchester.
To donate a bike to Re-Cycle, go to their website www.re-cycle.org to find your nearest drop-off point or visit their warehouse at Unit 8, The Grove Estate, Wormingford, Colchester, Essex, CO6 3AJ.