In 2010 the Montana chapter of Wheels of Change, at the time known as Bicycles for Humanity-Montana, shipped a container with over 300 bicycles to the village of Ngoma in Namibia. This was established as a bicycle shop, with local healthcare volunteers trained in bicycle mechanics and business skills and earning an income from running the shop. The shop continues to run under its own steam, selling and servicing bicycles, and supporting local orphans with profits from sales.
In 2011, Wheels of Change Montana sent a shipment of 400 bikes to Nairobi, Kenya to set a up a new shop. This shop is run by a local non-profit organisation, Wheels of Africa, which supports a number of bicycle mechanics from poor communities with access to training, bicycles, tool and spare parts.
October 2011, Travel+Leisure awards the Global Vision Award to Austin-Lehman Adventures for their “corporate innovation” work with WOC Montana. This monumental award inspired Austin-Lehman and the WOC Montana chapter to establish Wheels of Change International in order to open new opportunities for this great cause.
August 2013, Wheels of Change Montana sent a container of 350 bicycles to Linyanti, Namibia. As with the first Namibian project in Ngoma, this container became a bicycle shop run by healthcare volunteers. Bicycles will help volunteers reach their clients, children get to school and subsistence farmers get produce to market.
October 2013, Fifteen bicycles from the August shipment are sent to Wuparo conservancy, and another 15 to Hoada community camp in the Kunene region, on the other side of the country. These bicycles are used to establish bicycle tourism projects run by local people, who will take tourists on ‘bicycle safaris’ and local cultural tours. These projects receive on-the-ground support from WWF, NNF, IRDNC and BEN Namibia, and provide support to Namibia’s renowned conservancy tourism program.Comments