KONA AFRICA BIKE PROJECT
In the summer of 2009, A Better World team took part in the fundraising and opening of Kiprengwe Primary School, 37 kilometers from Kericho, Kenya. The area is infamous for its hilly terrain; and the school is perched on the top of an audaciously steep hill. The red soil makes for a challenging drive, let alone walk. Some of the 535 primary students of Kiprengwe school walk up to 20 kilometers to and from school each day, generally on an empty stomach.
Once we returned from our trip, inspired by the story of these students, we contacted Kona Mountain Bikes to see if they would be interested in partnering to provide bicycles to the 535 students at the school. Kona did not hesitate to get on board with the project and immediately began designing a bicycle (called the AfriKid bicycle) for the primary students. They took into consideration the unique terrain, age group and sustainability issues. This is the first bicycle Kona has designed for this age group in their AfricaBike series, and the largest Kona Basic Needs project the organization has done to date.
The bike design is now complete and ready for production. In order to provide each student and teacher with a bicycle, we will need to raise approximately $50,000 by end of 2012. Our main fundraising initiative will be a bike race hosted annually at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Our goal is to have 300 cyclers of various abilities come out and raise a minimum of $130 each; the equivalent cost of one bike subsidized by Kona.
We strongly believe these bicycles will ultimately increase the student’s quality of life by increasing their productivity, decreasing drop out rates, and increasing their safety. As of today, Kiprengwe has a great structure thanks to the volunteers, donors and supporters of A Better World as well as the community of Kiprengwe. These bikes will be the next investment in creating a great community for generations to come.
This project is run 100% by volunteers. There are no administration fees incurred to run this project. 100% of donations received will go directly to sending over 500 AfriKid bikes to Kenya.
A Better World was established in 1990 in Lacombe, Alberta by Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt. The original goal of the organization was to create an international development group dedicated to raising approximately $5000 a year and focusing on a few small international projects. Over the past 20 years the organization has grown significantly, providing over $2.5 million in projects last year, while working with people from all walks of life dedicated to improving lives. A majority of the projects A Better World has been involved with have been education based because the organization believes that education is the first and foremost way to change people’s lives in developing countries. The organziation also focuses on health intervention and providing clean water to people in developing countries. A Better World has reached as far as Tibet, Bolivia, and Afghanistan while maintaining a focus on projects in East Africa. The organization is managed entirely by a diverse group of volunteers from various communities. A Better World delivers sustainable foundations necessary to reduce poverty and human suffering. In 2011, Eric Rajah, received the Alberta Order of Excellence, the province’s highest honour in recognition of an individual’s service. To learn more about A Better World please visit the website at www.a-better-world.ca.
Kona Basic Needs was founded in 2008. With all the humanitarian work Kona was doing through its AfricaBike program, combined with support from customers, the organization felt the need to set up a separate humanitarian organization to help further Kona’s good will initiatives. Kona Basic Needs’ primary initiative is to donate Kona Africa Bikes to organizations and individuals who can directly benefit from the transportation virtues of the bicycle. The first humanitarian project under the Kona Basic Needs umbrella occurred in September of 2008 with the donation of 120 bikes to a water management project run by WWF Tanzania. The work of Kona Basic Needs does not stop at bikes, the Kona Basic Needs program will be looking to partner and work with companies and organizations dedicated to implementing programs that provide shelter, food and water to those in need all over the world. The mission of the program is ‘to provide transport, shelter, food and water to those with difficulty in attaining them.
To learn more about Kona Basic Needs please visit the website at http://www.konaworld.com/basicneeds/.