Group that provides bikes to Third-World countries at Rockford College Nov. 18

In Africa, World Bicycle Relief is working to provide 50,000 bicycles for children in Zambia so they can get to school. Photo provided

From press release

World Bicycle Relief, a group that builds and donates bicycles for use in Third-World countries to improve mobility and increase productivity, will make a stop at Rockford College from noon to 1 p.m., Nov. 18, in the college’s Lion’s Den. The event is free and open to the public.

Founded by SRAM and Trek Bicycles in 2005 and supported by many individuals, foundations and corporations, World Bicycle Relief specializes in large-scale, comprehensive bike programs to aid in poverty relief and disaster assistance efforts. They typically partner with non-governmental organizations, government and community-based organizations.

The group’s appearance in Rockford is co-sponsored by Rockford Bicycle Co. and is part of a year-long program sponsored by Rockford College with the help of local civic leaders Jim and Pam Keeling. That effort, called “Half the Sky,” is aimed at improving conditions in underdeveloped countries by making the tools available to enable people to make a living for themselves, especially women.

Compared to walking, bicycles represent a leap in productivity and access to health care, education and economic development opportunities. The simple, sustainable nature of bicycles empowers individuals, their families and their communities.

According to World Bicycle Relief, bikes have distinct advantages over walking. They increase carrying capacity by five times and save households up to 30 percent of annual income for transportation costs. In Africa, the group is working to provide 50,000 bicycles for children in Zambia so they can get to school. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, it worked with World Vision to provide more than 24,000 bikes to people in Sri Lanka.

For information about World Bicycle Relief, see To learn more about local “Half the Sky” initiatives, call Jim Keeling at (815) 490-4900.

From the Nov. 10-16, 2010 issue

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