In April of 2010, the BCA was contacted by Jenny Leonard, a student at Reed College. In 2008, while studying in South Africa, Jenny met Mercy, a 16 year old high school student who walked for three hours each way, every day, to get to school. The experience inspired Jenny. Partnering with an organization called Bicycles for Humanity, she set out on a mission to collect donated bikes and send them to impoverished students in South Africa.
On New Year’s Day, we received an update from Jenny via e-mail:
This year has seen a lot of good things. The container that shipped 300 bikes from Portland, Oregon to Cape Town, South Africa now stands at the Oval Noord High School in Mitchell’s Plain. All 300 bikes have been distributed, the majority going to schools in the Mitchell’s Plain area. The container itself will be made into a bicycle shop and will be providing the mechanical support needed to keep the bikes going for a long time.
There are many adventures in store for your bicycles. They will be used by school children, carry precious cargo, and they might even compete in sports and races. As for me, I also have adventures planned. I will be attending the University of Cape Town to get my Master’s in Creative Writing. And I’m starting a new project. I want to write a novel addressing current environmental issues, specifically related to globalization, sustainability and culture. If you are interested in this idea please follow my link to Kickstarter, a website that provides a funding platform for creative projects: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/931725995/storytelling-an-environmental-perspective.
I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support during the last year and a half. There were many times I thought I would give up. But with each bike donated, each dollar given, each stranger that showed their interest and support, my confidence grew. And look what we were able to accomplish. Hundreds of kids now have access to better transportation to and from school. Thank you for making this possible. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.