Re-Cycle is a UK charity committed to providing cheap, sustainable transport in Africa. We believe that bicycles offer poor people the best means to improve their lives, giving them opportunities to travel to work and school. They can also be adapted to carry goods and passengers giving small scale farmers and traders the opportunity to reach customers further a field. They are also an invaluable resource for travelling health workers coping with the AIDS epidemic.
We receive unwanted bikes from individuals and organisations such as the Royal Mail. These are checked over and prepared for shipment before being loaded into containers (approx. 400 each time) and sent to our various partner organisations in Africa. There, they are refurbished before being distributed by our African partners. We also teach repair and maintenance skills.
Major African Beneficiaries
In rural Africa where there is no public transport, people have to walk long distances to access education, health care or employment. For many people, a bicycle can be a first step out of poverty and towards a better life.
- Children, who often walk long distances each way to school
- Outreach workers, e.g. medical personnel, agricultural advisors
- Women, whose day often has multiple journeys, e.g. fetching water, work, crèche
- Commuters and farm workers, taking goods to market
- Re-Cycle has many benefits in the UK, including;
- Training in bike mechanics
- Reducing waste and landfill
- Youth Offending Teams (YOT), probation, the prison service and the army help with preparing and loading
- Brain injury rehabilitation volunteers, finding the workshop a safe and supportive environment
Overcoming Barriers to Cycling in Africa
- Cost; bikes cost money so micro-credit helps. Many people pay 1/4 of their income on transport
- Safety; mostly a question of driver awareness, a famous quote from a South African mechanic "the drivers treat cyclists like insects"
- Gender Barriers; it is hard for women to ride bikes in some countries, with reasons including 'un-lady like', reducing fertility and ability to have affairs. The short answer is that when incomes go up, these 'barriers' fall off