Celebrated Ghanaian bamboo bike maker, Bernice Dapaah has donated samples of her bicycles to pupils of the Drobonso SDA Basic School, in the Sekyere Afram Plains district of the Ashanti Region.
Her social enterprise-the Ghana Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative received funding from a U.S-based not-for-profit corporation, the African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF) to make the donation possible.
School facilities in rural Ghana are often far away from where the pupils live and many children in these areas spend hours of the school day trekking to and from school.
“Distance should not be a hindrance between children and education and we want to take advantage of the bicycles we are producing to get as many children as possible to get to school on time”, said Bernice at a handing over an event in the school last Friday.
With this donation, the partnership between GBI and ABCF has now provided nearly 100, free, ecologically friendly bamboo bikes to Ghanaian transport-dependent
students, parents, smallholder farmers and healthcare workers in the Ashanti, Brong, Eastern and Greater Accra regions.
The GBBI pioneered Ghana’s first bamboo bicycle over a decade ago taking advantage of the vast resource of bamboo across the country to create jobs and business opportunities for young people in the country.
Isiah Boakye is 13-years-old and enrolled in junior high school. He lives at Aprade, near Kumasi, Ghana, an estimated two-hour walk to his school.
“Now I can run errands at school and at home. Also, I am never late at school and at home too. God bless ABCF”, he said.
“Receiving this bicycle has helped me to be swift with my duties at the school since I go through less stress when coming to school. Again, I have been extra punctual to work and able to work within time”, said Esther Addo, a primary four teacher, in the Parkoso R/C Basic School.
ABCF Plans to distribute 2500 free bicycles in primarily rural areas in Ghana, over a five-year period.
Adu Johnson, a farmer, said; “At my age, walking long distances to farm is no more an exercise but a difficult undertaking. Thanks to the kindheartedness of ABCF’s officials, my farm seems only an inch away. We need people like you [to] make this world a place worth living for those of us in such poor conditions.”
Speaking at the event, on behalf of ABCF’s chairman, Bruce Crawley, its executive director, Patricia Marshall Harris, said:” The ABCF program aligns with Ghana’s National Development Agenda, in areas of poverty alleviation and access to education,” and is expected to contribute, among other things, to improved school attendance for young, rural students, and greater operating efficiency for rural farmers.
He also mentioned that the U.S.-based foundation plans to build upon its initial bicycle distribution efforts to provide technology-facilitated, inter-continental seminars and classroom discussions between students and entrepreneurs in Ghana and the U.S., and to assist GBI in expanding its capacity to export its world-class bicycles to the U.S., and to other countries across the globe.