Sometimes, it’s difficult to give time to the causes that we would like to regardless of our intentions. So here at Ebsta, we thought the best way to bring awareness to the causes that deserve it is through the medium of story.
We’re going to share the fascinating story of how one of our much-loved Non-Profit customers has achieved worldwide support – meet Bicycles for Humanity
The best ideas are normally ridiculed at first by the people that can’t see the ‘bigger picture’. Founder Pat Montani experienced this when people first heard about his idea of providing the ‘under-developed’ world with bicycles so that they could have the mobility to build their economy and help their health workers. “Everyone thought I was crazy when I first pitched them the idea; they couldn’t understand what difference a bicycle would make to communities in Africa. Health workers in Libya, for example, can visit 5 times more people with a bicycle than by foot. That’s life-changing”. According to Pat, 10 million bicycles are thrown away in the developed world every year and he’s hoping to get people to put these to better use with Bicycles for Humanity. But how does this happen?
The Business Model
As a grassroots organisation, with no staff and a reliance on word of mouth, Pat has proven that his efficient model works. Pat discussed this “Bicycles for Humanity relies on volunteers creating a ‘chapter’ and raising funds to ship the bikes to Africa in containers for our partners to collect at the other end. Whether that’s a big bike ride or a fundraising party, a lot of these ‘chapters’ are community lead so they bring people together knowing that they’re doing something great to help others. This way, they know that 100% of their money goes to the cause which is something that bigger organisations have struggled with over the years.”
Over the past 15 years, Bicycles for Humanity has built chapters across the globe with schools, families, churches and workplaces all getting involved to help make change across Africa and now Asia and South America. “At first, we would go out there and teach them how to maintain the bikes and now there are over 200 bike mechanics in Africa. Now, we have to rely on the communities in Africa to maintain and utilize the bikes they receive and they do it. A lot of people that volunteer go there and see first-hand how they’ve done this and build long-lasting relationships.”
In the ‘developed’ world, transport ensures that our economy runs smoothly. We have our foods delivered to us when and as we need it and are able to get to our places of work freely and sometimes, without having to give it a second thought. Pat talks about the differences between this and his experiences in Africa “Mobility is key. Think about London without transport when people rely so heavily on the Tube or a car; you’d have to walk 3km home. This is the reality in Africa. Say you grow a crop and you sell it at the side of a road in Africa, you’d have to wait for someone to come along the road to buy your products which just doesn’t happen. In the end, you have to sell your products onto someone else and get 15% of what your product is worth. A bicycle can be used to deliver these crops, much like a delivery truck, and ensure people get a higher price for their goods which kick-starts the whole economy.”
How to Get Involved
Pat is passionate about the volunteers that help Bicycles for Humanity to be the biggest organisation of it’s kind in the world. “There’s other ways to do good than just writing a cheque. A lot of people think local not international but a bike is international and that’s why more and more people are starting ‘chapters’ across the world. I get people message me on social media asking if they can create one in their community and it’s fantastic. Bicycles for Humanity has now sent over 100,000 bicycles to Africa. Anyone can start a chapter, it’s fun, creative and is open to everyone.” You too, can inspire a generation
Ebsta understands the challenges that Non-profit organisations can encounter so we give a discounted price on our product but fundamentally, we aim to raise awareness of the outstanding work that organisations like Bicycles for Humanity do. Pat says “When you are a one-man team and have no staff, you have to find a way to manage everything effectively. I get hundreds of emails and the most valuable thing to me is my time so when I came across Ebsta I thought, this is great! I can utilize my time far more efficiently and be truly grassroots with Ebsta.”
If you’d like more information on Bicycles for Humanity or would like to get involved, contact Pat@bicycles-for-humanity.org