How lucky we were to have Phil and Matthew with us at a  Rotary Club of Preston Zoom meeting to share with us the Bicycles for Humanity journey.

An entirely volunteer-run organisation, Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) was founded in Canada, established with the goal of making a life-changing difference in developing countries by providing bicycles to improve basic mobility, and hence, providing communities with easier access to education, health care and social services.

In 2008, Bicycles for Humanity Melbourne was founded by Matt McCullough and Andy Gild as the first Australian Bicycles for Humanity chapter. In the 12 years since the establishment of Bicycles for Humanity Melbourne, 26 shipping containers have been sent from Melbourne to Namibia, Zambia, Madagascar and Botswana. Each container holds 500 bikes, with assorted helmets and tools, and costs approximately $3000 to buy and $4000 to ship.

The organisation and many of its chapters maintain a strong link to Bicycle Empowerment Network, Namibia where locals are trained in mechanical and business skills and the container is then converted into an independent workshop or eBox (formally known as Bicycle Empowerment Centre, BEC) to create ongoing and self-supporting local networks. There are now more than 30 established eBoxes in Namibia alone. The importance of the work of Bicycles for Humanity has been acknowledged at governmental levels with Australia’s then Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, officially opening a BEC in Namibia in 2009.

In addition, B4H has sent bicycles to locations such as the Northern Territory in Australia and Cambodia, and maintain an association with a range of local communities throughout Melbourne. Indeed, by the end of 2020, a total of 12500 bicycles will have been made available to support the many communities and partners where bicycles make an enormous difference to people.