This wonderful news comes to us from Myanmar, India.
Instead of letting the thousands of good bicycles go to waste, there is an entrepreneur in Myanmar who is rescuing the bicycles from the trash heap and then sending them to poor children in Myanmar.
The bike sharing company oBike recently withdrew from the market in Singapore and started their process of liquidation in 2018, this left heartbroken at the piles of perfectly good bicycles that were going to waste.
In a blog post Win wrote , “ It felt extremely sad for me to see all these bicycles piling up in the junkyard, left around parks and roads unattended and rusting.”
“ The manufacturing of these bicycles can cost anywhere between $300 and $500 per unit and a lot of natural resources are now left to waste and sent to blazing furnaces to be recycled or just simply left rusting somewhere else.”
Win had been to Myanmar numerous times in the past and he remembered how the young village children used to walk long distances to school. This served as his inspiration.
Win says,” It’s a common sight to see lines and lines of students walking long distances from home to school in rural villages. Some students can walk up to one hour from home to school and the families can hardly afford a simple form of transport like a bicycle or a motorcycle…a school bus is almost unheard of to the students in rural villages. “
Win, after some thought, started an non-profit called LessWalk so that he could buy up all of oBike’s unused bicycles and then donate them to the schoolchildren.
This project has had its fair share of expenses. In addition to replacing the ride sharing electronic system with regular lock and key, Win shares that he has met with mountains of legislative red tape along with fees in regard to shipping the bikes to Myanmar.
Taking that into account, Win says that he has successfully shipped and received around 4,700 new bikes and there is 5,300 more bicycles on the way. All the bikes are for free to the students who live below the poverty line in Myanmar and who need to walk 2 kilometers to school.
The mission was started with funding from donations and sponsorships; however, the bulk of the $400,000 financing came from Win. He is currently holding talks with different government organizations along with grassroots charities so that the bikes can be properly distributed.
Image source: Bangkok Post