The Singletrack Forum is a place where many go for plumbing advice, some go to share pictures they’ve taken of which they’re proud, and others go to ask advice about bike repairs. There’s a veritable community of regulars, as well as occasional visitors, and in between the threads seeking help about bottom brackets and mysterious creaks, you’ll find a fair few threads seeking advice about life. Marital breakdowns, family feuds, homelessness, unemployment, deaths of loved ones – they’re all there. It’s usually a heartwarming experience to read these threads – the forum members respond to heartfelt outpourings with a combination of sound advice and practical and morale support.
When one forum regular, user ‘paulhaycraft’, saw our story about World Bicycle Relief and the difference that a bike could make to a girl’s life, he started the thread ’19 Fivers For A Bike!’, donated £5, and invited the Singletrack Forum to see if it could manage to the 18 more donations needed to buy a World Bicycle Relief Buffalo Bike.
At last count it looked as though 53 fivers had been donated – enough for two and a bit Buffalo Bikes. In fact if another four fivers are donated that will be three bikes. Plus there’s some match funding, up to $1.5million, being offered by some private donors up until 31st December, which means that these donations have been doubled – buying five and a half bikes thanks to our forum members – and the charitable thinking of that first user who started the thread.
While we’re sure our forum members would have settled for that happy warm glow of having done a good thing, it was nice to discover that one existing forum member was in fact the Development Director for World Bicycle Relief. Steve Cromwell – known on the forum as ‘svender’ – broke cover and stepped forward to thank everyone for their generosity.
World Bicycle Relief seeks to provide people in rural areas of developing countries with robust Buffalo Bikes to break down some of the barriers to accessing services or economic improvement that can exist where there is little or no public transport available. This year’s campaign for the Christmas period ‘A Way Forward’ is focusing on the benefits that bikes can bring to schoolgirls.
Over 29 million girls around the world do not attend secondary school. Many factors contribute to girls dropping out of school in much higher numbers than boys: obligatory household chores, distance to school, sexual assault and child marriage. These barriers stand between young girls and bright futures. A high quality bicycle, such as a Buffalo Bicycle, can remove these barriers, keep girls in school and keep them safe as they travel to school.
World Bicycle Relief is committed to breaking down these barriers for girls, helping them achieve their educational goals and become change-makers within their communities and around the world. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals call for an improvement in quality of life for millions of people in developing countries with special attention placed on girls and women. As history has shown, when girls and women do better, the society as a whole does better. As stated by the UN in their declaration of 2015, “If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world.” A crucial component of this support is education.
Data from UNESCO highlights that in poorer areas, girls are even less likely than boys to go to school. When girls do not get an education that makes them more likely to be poor for the rest of their lives. And girls in poor families are less likely to get an education to begin with – thus the system perpetuates itself. When this cycle is broken, there are long-term benefits for whole communities.
If you’d like to show your support then head here to donate now.
Thanks to all the forum members who have donated, and also to all those forum members who have been kind hearted human beings throughout the year. This isn’t the first charitable cause you’ve stepped up to support. Whether it’s donations to charities, help and advice for your fellow forumites, or just an entertaining tale of tubeless misfortune, we’re grateful.