88bikes Foundation, non-profit dedicated to providing bikes to young people in developing countries and a KEEN Hybrid.Care partner, has just completed their fourth project with the gift of 300 bikes to orphans and children rescued from human trafficking in Ghana, India, Nepal and Vietnam.
For Project4, 88bikes traveled to orphanages, ashrams, centers and schools sheltering children rescued from human trafficking, delivering bikes at 12 locations in Ghana, India, Nepal and Vietnam. Overall, 300 children were given basic, one-speed, steel-framed bikes that are common to the region and were purchased from local vendors.
In the following months, 88bikes will be sending volunteers to most of the sites to instruct the kids in bike repair and safety and to conduct workshops in other areas as well, such as organic farming. These volunteers will make sure the bikes are being kept up and will test the feasibility of bike shops at several sites. 88bikes will also be monitoring how the bikes affect the kids three, six and twelve months after an endowment, especially in terms of their overall happiness, which the organization believes is an often overlooked element that may be the most important of all in humanitarian work with children.
“A bike is that magical vessel of freedom and fun, the rare tool that’s as useful as it is enjoyable. For these children–as all children–a bike provides happiness, freedom and autonomy,” said Dan Austin, founder of 88bikes. “Project4 has been a huge success, and the highlights were myriad. I was blown away when 14-year-old Rabina, an orphan in Nepal, began rhapsodizing about the power of bikes to curb global warming, improve health and even help Nepal improve its economy! We are grateful to KEEN for their continued support of our work.”
As a Hybrid.Care partner, 88bikes received funding from KEEN for purchasing bikes and providing tools and bike maintenance training for bicycle recipients.
“Dan’s description of the complete joy on the faces of these heroic children, who have each surmounted such great challenges, is the best partner feedback we could ask for,” says Linda Tom, Marketing Manager at KEEN. “88bikes is a perfect fit with our Hybrid.Care program, which partners with social and environmental organizations actively working towards the greater good, and we’re proud to support their amazing work.”
Hybrid.Care was created in 2004 to support social and environmental organizations that have paved the way for change through community, education and understanding. Since 2004, KEEN has partnered with more than 20 global environmental, conservation and social non-profit organizations, and has distributed more than $5 million in cash and in-kind donations. Other current partners include American Whitewater, Leave No Trace, The Conservation Alliance, Waterkeeper Alliance and Big City Mountaineers.
KEEN Inc., manufacturer of hybrid footwear, socks and bags, is an outdoor brand that delivers innovative hybrid products, enabling all outdoor enthusiasts to live an active lifestyle. Founded in 2003, KEEN was first recognized for its Newport sandal, which featured patented toe protection technology.
The company strives to demonstrate integrity and leadership, especially on social and environmental commitments, while promoting an inclusive outdoors community. Through its giving program Hybrid.Care, the company provides support to a variety of social and environmental organizations around the globe.
Based in Portland, Oregon, KEEN products are available in retail locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Central America, South America and Europe. To learn more, visit www.keenfootwear.com.
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It doesn't always take a massive relief organization to tip the scales for joy and sustainability in places where children and young adults are challenged to be their own heroes. 88bikes provides a simple and direct opportunity to make a difference for a young person in the world: buy a child a bike! Project4 was their fourth endowment project. Their next project, VILLAGES, is slated for summer/fall 2010 and will endow between 500-1000 bikes. To get involved, check out 88bikes.org.