We can’t resist such a beautiful little face.
There’s an even more beautiful story behind it. Take the ethically-minded shoe and outdoor apparel company, KEEN, and the 88bikes Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing bikes to young people in developing countries, and you get these results: Their 4th completed project with the gift of 300 bikes to orphans and children rescued from human trafficking in Ghana, India, Nepal and Vietnam.
For Project4, 88bikes traveled to orphanages, ashrams, centers and schools sheltering children rescued from human trafficking, delivering bikes at 12 locations in Ghana, India, Nepal and Vietnam. Overall, 300 children were given basic, one-speed, steel-framed bikes that are common to the region and were purchased from local vendors.
“A bike is that magical vessel of freedom and fun, the rare tool that’s as useful as it is enjoyable. For these children–as all children–a bike provides happiness, freedom and autonomy,” said Dan Austin, founder of 88bikes. “Project4 has been a huge success and I was blown away when 14-year-old Rabina, an orphan in Nepal, began rhapsodizing about the power of bikes to curb global warming, improve health and even help Nepal improve its economy!”
As a KEEN Hybrid.Care partner, 88bikes received funding from KEEN for purchasing bikes and providing tools and bike maintenance training for bicycle recipients. Hybrid.Care was created in 2004 to support social and environmental organizations that have paved the way for change through community, education and understanding. Since 2004, KEEN has partnered with more than 20 global environmental, conservation and social non-profit organizations, distributing more than $5 million in cash and in-kind donations. Other current partners include American Whitewater, Leave No Trace, The Conservation Alliance, Waterkeeper Alliance and Big City Mountaineers.
How awesome is that? Gives me the chills to see such seemingly small things create such smiles and good fortune.
“Dan’s description of the complete joy on the faces of these heroic children, who have each surmounted such great challenges, is the best partner feedback we could ask for,” says Linda Tom, Marketing Manager at KEEN.
We agree, Linda. That’s why we’ve decided to highlight you. If more companies cared, this world would be a better place. To that end, KEEN makes some great gear for trekking so now you, too, can feel good about your shameless shoe addiction.
It doesn’t always take a massive relief organization to tip the scales for joy and sustainability in places where children and young adults are challenged to be their own heroes. 88bikes provides a simple and direct opportunity to make a difference for a young person in the world: buy a child a bike! Project4 was their fourth endowment project. Their next project, VILLAGES, is slated for summer/fall 2010 and will endow between 500-1000 bikes.