Bike stories – Archives

Augustin Saint-Vilia, Ouanaminthe, Haïti

Augustin Saint-Vilia is very proud to have a bike. She goes to school with it and she saves money. By riding, Augustin feels more comfortable with her body : “With my bike I can develop muscle, work out and stay away from sickness. It’s better than a car that pollutes the air!”. When she grows up, Augustin would like become a doctor.

John Flemming, Montréal, Canada

“At three years old I said that when I grow up I either want to be a captain, because of my little bath boats, or a tricyclist. Today I am sixty-five years old and I am a cyclist! I was a captain of my own boat four months.” It’s when he reached 50 years old that John decided to dedicate time to his passion : bikes! He became a biking guide with Vélo Québec, and he volunteers with Cyclo Nord-Sud. A few years ago, he was president of the board and still remains one of our most active volunteers!

Odanis, Thibeau, Haïti

This young pupil studies at Thibeau school and she has a bike thanks to the partnership between Cyclo Nord-Sud, CENTRECH, the John-Paul II Institute and the Holy Cross Sisters congregation of Cap Haïtien. The bikes received are lent during the school year to students and teachers that live far away. Bike parkings have been installed inside the school. In 2016, the entire school proudly welcomed Cyclo Nord-Sud’s team with a singing performance !

Akosiwa Avo, Nyitakpo, Togo

Akosiwa Avo goes anywhere she wants with her bike. Her son also uses the bike for his family’s needs. Having a bike simplifies everyday life. When we met Akosiwa Avo, she said that words could not express how happy she felt with her new bike.

Manuel Dita Duran, Quemado de Guines, Cuba

Manuel Dita Duran is very thankful to have received a bicycle. He uses it for work and to help people who live far away from here. “All my family uses the bike too. We are very happy, our life has changed in a positive way because we don’t need to pay anymore for transport and we can move around easily and run our errands.”

Bénédicte Ami Amouzou, Lomé, Togo

Thanks to the partnershipp between Écho de la Jeunesse and Cyclo Nord-Sud, Bénédicte Ami Amouzou gets to use a bike during her studies! “I can go far with it and even to places i could not walk to”. Her sisters also use the bike to go to the market.

Andrée Morissette and Jacques Bélanger, Québec, Canada

Andrée Morissette has a special link with Cyclo Nord-Sud because her sister, Claire Morissette, is the founder! For her, being a volunteer at Cyclo Nord-Sud, “is a way to honour her sister’s work and to preserve her memory”. Her husband, Jacques Bélanger, is also passionate about volonteering at Cyclo Nord-Sud: “It is with great pleasure and joy that we organize a bike drive yearly”. During three years, he worked in the Burkina Faso and he has seen with his own eyes the impact of a bike on daily routines: “it allows many people to to have a better quality of life!”.

Kokou Mawouena, Lomé, Togo

Kokou Mawouena is in charge of the bikes’shop with the Mecano’s project, from the partnershipp between Echo de la Jeunesse and Cyclo Nord-Sud. He likes his job « the organisation’s support and the bikes help girls and students who need it ».

Godwin Kakpor, Hohoe, Ghana

Godwin Kakpor bikes five kilometers everyday to get to work. He likes biking and sharing his passion with his relatives ! He gave bikes to his children so they can ride to school with them and to some friends because he knew they would make good use of them. “Bike helps me to transport my plants. I save money and i can go wherever i want, whenever i want. With my bike, all I have to do is pedal!”.

Massanvi Egnonam Bona, Lomé, Togo

Massanvi Egnonam Bona would like become a doctor later in life. Thanks to her bike, she has more time to study and meet her friends : « I ride for meet my friends to study maths, physics, it’s a real advantage! ». Without her bike, she says she may have quit school because she lives so far away from her school. Thanks to the bike mecanics training offered by the Mécano’s project she knows how to care for her bike on her own!

Yves Lemay, Québec, Canada

Yves Lemay says : “I caught the solidarity bug!”. He is president of the Non-profit Solidarité Sans Frontières and collaborates with Cyclo Nord-Sud. He cooperates mainly with Cuba to send bikes to several schools. “On a trip to Cuba I got to meet students that have received bikes and got a chance to participate in a cycling interschool competition for the first time! I was so moved to see that the winner of the competition was a student with a bike from Cyclo Nord-Sud! Now, she is a member with the national cycling team! It seems she has the necessary legs and heart for success!”.

Yawa Kouradje, Nyitakpo, Togo

Going to school, buying flour, fish… Yawa Kouradje’s family rely on their bike everyday!

Raquel Pedrosso Izquierdo, Aguada de Pasajero, Cuba

The bicycle of Raquel Pedrosso has a major impact, both on her personal and her work life. “It helps me a lot, it’s my means of transport. I use the bicycle to run errands, pick up merchandise, and visit clients. I am so grateful for having received this bike.”

Father Léonex Almonord, Sainte-Croix, Haïti

Father Léonex-Almonord is the head of Saint Eugene of Mazenod’s secondary school, member of the Holy Cros Foundation. On February 2016, the secondary school received its first bikes send by Cyclo Nord-Sud. After repairing them, Father Léonex-Almonord distributed them to his students, teachers, students’ parents and at another school of the city. “By riding to school, the students get to school on time and are more enthusiastics. They can also take leisure rides with their bikes!” says proudly Father Léonex-Almonord.

Francis Chico, Hohoe, Ghana

Francis Chico is a volonteer of the Shapes Lives Foundation. He’s in charge of recycled bicycle’s sales. Daily he sees how having a used bike at a modest price helps people save money! “How can someone not be happy knowing they are helping people. With their bikes, peoples become more independant, children can go to school without stress and learn… I am very, very happy contribute to this project!”

Véronique Akligbé, Lomé, Togo

Veronique is 19 years old and in her last year in school. Her bike takes her to school and helps her run errands… She admits she still walks if she feels too tired to pedal ! “Sometimes, I prefer walking…But the bike still helps me with some errands!”

Abel Ayivon, Lomé, Togo

Abel is an IT manger and a volunteer at the ONG Echo de la Jeunesse since 2013.  Getting involved makes him feel useful and help youths. He coordinates the bike mecanic training, giving an opportunity to youths living 15 km away from school, to own a bike and learn how to fix it. “In the first class, we had a kid who had to walk 20 km to go to school and back. He was always trying to get our attention during the training. Since he recieved his bike, he’s always the first of his class!”

Enyoname Awougno, Nyitakpo, Togo

Running errands, buying medicine for the family, that’s what the bike facilitates in Enyoname Awougno’s life, shopkeeper in Nyitakpo.

Lloyd Gameli, Ghana

Lloyd’s bike transformed the long walks he had to do into short rides. He now has the freedom to move wherever he wants and to save time and money by not paying taxis.  “Now that I’ve got access to a bicycle, it is so much easier to come to work.”

Amé Deriha, Nyitakpo, Togo

Amé is a farmer and uses her bike to sell her products at the market et come from with groceries for her house. Her son also uses it to go to school and it becomes even more useful to get the hospital. “I use the bike to reach the marketplace, sometimes, and bring supplies home for my family like corn and fish.”

Jean Lamothe, Montréal, Canada

Jean realised the differences beetween North ans South after taking a class on underdeveloppement in 1970. During his travels, he discovered the different uses of bikes and the way people transformed them depending on their needs. “Understanding that we are wealthy compared to many, is something that touches your heart for life. It took a long time for us to realize this and, perhaps, it was already a little too late.”

Komla Agbamado, Foguégué, Togo

His bike helps 14 year-old Agbamado get the water and mill the flour for his family. “The bike [also] helps me go to school.”

Amévi Atri, Foguégué, Togo

Atri Amévi is 13 years of age and in 6th grade. By getting her to school, her bike will help her reach her ambitious goal: “I want to become a woman minister [for my government]”.

Gninévi K.A. Egah, Lomé, Togo

36 year-old Egah, is in charge of logistics and finances for the NGO Echo de la Jeunesse. Through his work, he witnesses the daily impacts of bikes on the lives of the beneficiaires, such as better access to schools, water, and the marketplace… His mission : spread the smiles given by the bikes. “To combine the useful and pleasant and to triumph over space and time.”

Cecil Chico, Ghana

Cecil is 21 years old and volunteers for Shape Lives Foundation. His goal to help other is achieved by repairing and selling the bikes. He recalls the most beautiful day of his life: when he received his very own bike. “I enjoy to help the less povided ones. If you don’t come by and don’t have money to pay, I help you repair, freely.”

Yadileisis Cruz Manso, Formento, Cuba

She is a 42 year accountant for the Formento Hospital. A single mother of a 10 year old boy, she lives with and cares for her mother suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She was extremely moved when the social worker came to her house to tell her she had been selected by the local committee to recieve a bicycle donation. It simplified her life as she uses it to fetch everything she needs for her son and mother but also lets her son play with it .

Sylvie Lafontaine, Québec, Canada

Her first bike drive lead to many others, Sylvie is motivated to collect used bicycles in Quebec to help those who really need them throughout the world. She is proud of the teamwork she has done with her volunteers, that was awarded the Claire Morissette Prize in 2016. “I always aim to do better each year because I know that there are still many people that need them .”

Ami Gavo, Foguégué, Togo

Ami Gavo, 15 years old, goes to school with her bike. Later, she wishes to be a school teacher. For now, “if my mom wishes to send me run errands, I can do it .”

Fernando Caraballo Abreu, Quemado de Guines, Cuba

Fernando is director of architectural services and coordinator of Habitat II in Quemado de Guines. He has been involved with the project since its beginning in 2003 with its first phase Habitat I, and recalls that this is the third time they have received bikes from Cyclo Nord-Sud. “So far, 26 bicycles have been distributed to women in the community, … women who had to walk at least 7 km and back before.”

Alain Perez, Formento, Cuba

A Psychology graduate, Alain is an employee of the Municipal Unversity Center of Formento and is part of the coordinating team of the Habitat 2 project as head of the “Equality, Gender and Social Participation” network. Through the project, coordinators first identify the most vulnerable communities in a multidisciplinary manner then a participatory process is led by a committee of local stakeholders targets the most vulnerable people to whom to distribute resources. “I am most proud when I hear the recognition of people even if, in my opinion, it is too much because we are simple facilitators … the real actors of change are the members of these communities.”

Yanet Leo Vidal, Formento, Cuba

Yanet Leon Vidal is a vocational training teacher at the San Luis school. In June, she received a bicycle, an object that significantly changed her life. For her, a bike represents more than a simple mode of transportation : it eases her daily life. “For me, a bike is as essential as feet are. It is important to go to work, to bring the children to school and even to go to the clinic. A thank you is not enough to express our gratitude, considering all the people who’s life is changed by this project.”

 

Ibrahim Tanko, Ho Hoe, Ghana

Ibrahim Tanko has been a bike mechanic for the past 15 years. He has repaired several bikes. The project has been beneficial because it has allowed for an important economic and social development in the region. ‘’People can now go to work and go to school easily because they have access to bikes. It also allows them to save their money.’’

Yelaine Barrizonte Reine et Yarasay Jorrin Gomez, Cuba

Yelaine works at the Raul Suarez Martinez school. She had to walk 2 km to go to school since she lives in a remote area. Her young son’s asthma condition made the walk much more difficult. “Since I have a bike, everything has changed. I can bring my son to the hospital and to school.”

Yarasay  is a teacher at the Raul Suarez Martinez school. She had to walk a long distance to accomplish her daily tasks. “The bicycle has been of great utility for me. Before, I had to walk everywhere and I would be exhausted. Biking now allows me to work and study.”

Andres Oliviera, Santa Clara, Cuba

Andres Olivera is an architecture teacher at the Central University “Marta Abreu” de Las Villas and is Coordinator of the Habitat 2 project, which aims at improving the quality of life of communities in need. In these communities he identified a major problem: the issue of mobility. “A solution to improve mobility is the bicycle, but not all those who are in need of a bike, have one. This is why we continue collaborating with the organization Cyclo Nord-Sud. With their help, we have already received close to 1200 bikes, offering a real solution for these vulnerable communities.”

Nathalie Briere, Montréal, Canada

Nathalie Brière has worked in international solidarity and is passionate about nature. She loves bike touring and cycling, as she feels in harmony with nature. Using a bicycle gives her the freedom to make her own route and to discover new places and people as she goes. ”During my first bike touring trip, I went to the Parc de la Pointe-Taillon. I felt like I was almost at world’s end, having the world before me. I would say it’s freedom. This is the best way to visit a country and observe nature.”

Anthony, Ho Hoe, Ghana

Anthony is a student and hopes to, one day, become a teacher. He had been dreaming of having a bicycle to help him move and go to school for a long time. Every night, he prayed to receive a bike. One day, that dream became a reality: “I was praying and one day, I met a man who told me he liked my attitude. He said he wanted to offer me a bike. On Monday, I went to pick up my bike and they adjusted a few elements. I got to bring it home with me that night. I remember everything, I am so happy.”

Alfredo Perez, Quemado de Guines, Cuba

Alfredo Perez de la Cruz is a teacher and representative of the Central University ‘’Las Villas’’ in the Quemado de Guines municipality. He has been involved in the Habitat project for past two years. ‘’One of the major problems in the area is the lack of urban transportation. This is why the bike is a necessary and efficient tool, for citizens rely on it to go to work and to school. This vulnerable community has been greatly touched by Cyclo Nord-Sud’s bike project.’’

Ama Baka, Nyitakpo, Togo

Ama Baka is a merchant and a mother. The bicycle allows her children to go to schoo and to get the necessary medicine and  drinking water. Because her health is fragile, the bicycle is the ideal solution that helps her face daily challenges. “I thank Cyclo Nord-Sud for this opportunity.”

Alan Dickson, Montréal, Canada

Alan Dickson worked as an industrial mechanic for the past 35 years. Two years ago, he retired and found that he had a lot of spare time. One day, he was cleaning out the garden shed and found a few bikes he wanted to make use of and that is how he found Cyclo Nord-Sud. Ever since, he has been volunteering at the organization. “We are doing something I believe is important for people less fortunate than most of North Americans.’’

Sœur Ninive Charles, Haïti

Sister Ninive Charles is the principal of the Thibeau school of the Sainte-Croix congregation in Haiti. Missionary, she works in a particularly vulnerable region where employment is scarce and children must walk up to two hours to go to school. Sister Ninive Charles offers the bikes to children who live very far away, and she confides that they regularly show gratitude. “Thanks to this bicycle project, children arrive on time to school. Education is liberating. We are forming honest citizens, not only for Haiti, but for the world. This project is drastically helping our community.”

Abdurachid, Lomé, Togo

Abdurachid Mama is chief engineer. For him, passing on his knowledge about his field to the youth helps form a self-sufficient and solid generation. The youth are then able to repair their own bicycles and can invest their finances into schooling. “If a child comes from a humble background and the father offers them money, they can save that money. If the bicycle breaks, they know how to repair it, and the money can still go towards education. I am proud that we can help each other move forward.”

Marie Kezie Essohanam, Lomé, Togo

Marie Kezie Essohanam is a student in her final year at school. After having participated in a project in partnership with Cyclo Nord-Sud, a bike was offered to her, which changed her life significantly. “The bike gives me mobility. I can arrive to school on time and I can get home quickly afterwards. Before, I had to wake up very early to walk to school. Now, I have time to go over my school work before attending class.”

Robin Black, Montréal, Canada

Robin Black has been a Cyclo Nord-Sud volunteer for the past 10 years. He has always been passionate about cycling and has been involved in many community organizations to promote this ecological and efficient mode of transportation. ‘’Cyclo Nord-Sud helps vulnerable communities but also stimulates an important debate around their values and knowledge. The organization transports bikes to people in need, and the latter, in turn, teach us the values of solidarity and cooperation.’’

Berchelande Valcin, Haïti

Berchelande Valcin is 16 years old and she is a student at the Jean Paul II Institute. She dreams of becoming a doctor in Canada. Winner of a contest at her school, Berchelande admits that the bicycle has completely changed her life. “The bicycle allows me to travel great distances, especially to school.”

Charlotte Yan. Montréal, Canada

Charlotte Yan arrived in Quebec in 2015 as a mechanical engineer. A ‘Low technology’ enthusiast with environmental concerns, she becomes a Cyclo Nord-Sud volunteer as soon as she arrives and begins building a smoothie-bike: “The idea comes from Guatemala, from a group called Maja pedal, that makes machines out of bikes

Alfonse Frantz Derly. Thibeau, Haïti

Alfonse Frantz Derly has been student body president at the Sainte-Croix de Thibeau School for the past 3 years. “It has been a dream of mine for a long time. I don’t like glory. I want to learn diplomacy and become a great man to help my parents and help my country.”

Kevin Luis Sirva Gonzalez. Aguada de Pasajeros, Cuba

Kevin Luis Sirva Gonzalez, 13 years old, is an eighth grade student at the Capitan San Luis Secondary School. “I live 2 kilometers away from the school. Before I walked to school and felt very tired. Sometimes, I would get there late and I could not have breakfast. The bike has allowed me to arrive earlier to school, less tired. I have more time to do my homework.”

Mariam Gayya. Lomé, Togo

Mariam Gayya, student at the Sanguéra Secondary School in Togo. “I love my bike because it helps me go faster to school, to work group meetings, to the market. My two sisters and my brother also use the bike, mostly my brother that has to travel a long way to get to school.”

John Kosi Amegonu. Hohoe, Ghana

John Kosi Amegonu, 35 years old, is the owner of a bike shop that he inherited from his dad, who taught him all the tricks of the trade. He buys unrepaired bikes from the Shape Lives Foundation, repairs them and sells them. Up to now, he has also trained five people in bike mechanic that now have their own bike shops.

Franscisca Maria Chava Alvarez. Fomento, Cuba

Francisca Maria Chava Alvarez is 47 years old. She is a professional training and production assistant director for the Capitan San Luis School. Single mother, she must travel to various places daily between her workplace and her home. The bike, given to her in the context of a partnership between Cyclo Nord-Sud and the Central Marta Abreu de las Villas University has, in her words, “changed her life”.

Father Jean-Luc Bourdeau. Ouanaminthe, Haïti

Father Jean-Luc Bourdeau, Ouanaminthe School director since 2010 and instigator of the Bike to School project for underprivileged students: “I come from Cayes, a Haitian city where there are a great number of bikes. In my family alone there are at least 5 bikes, we grew up with them… I just thought it would be good to give the same chance to the students.”

Bradford Hurley. Montréal, Canada

Bradford Hurley, patron, works for the US environmental protection agency (EPA) to inform the population on the impacts of climate change and the individual means to remedy them. A passionate ecologist, he has been involved with many international cooperation organisations over the last 10 years and donates about 12% of his annual revenue to them.

Mawuli Monkpoh. Lomé, Togo

Mawuli Monkpoh, an 11th grade student from Lomé, Togo. “I received a bike from the organisation Echo de la Jeunesse and it made my life easier, I don’t arrive late at school anymore. I also completed a bike mechanic training course, which allows me to repair my own bike and repair other people’s bikes and earn a little money.”

Osmany Sosa Castillo. Aguada de Pasajeros, Cuba

Osmany Sosa Castillo, miller and bike mechanic in Aguada de Pasajeros, Cuba: “I help out with the free bike repair services offered by the project developed by the University. In the beginning, there were many major repairs to do, and then later people came only for simple repairs, like replacing faulty parts. Today, we don’t do complex reparations.”

Éric Wagner & Corinne Barrat. Québec, Canada

Eric Wagner and Corinne Barrat, are members of Cyclo Nord-Sud’s Volunteer Committee of Quebec city. On bikes travelling the world or in the city, the pair has volunteered and organized bike drives in the Quebec region, to insure that the “Southern countries can benefit from this incredible means of transport.” 

Aji Kpogi. Nyitakpo, Togo

Aji Kpogli, farmer in Nyitakpo, Togo. The bike she has received, has allowed her son to go to school and help her run errands in other villages for flour and corn, since there is no mill in her village.

Gemina Antoine. Ouanaminthe, Haïti

Gemima Antoine, 12th grade student at the Jean-Paul II Institution in Ouanaminthe. The bike she has purchased at a modest price helps her a lot because she lives far from school. She wants to study agronomy to protect plants and political sciences to fight injustice in Haiti. 

Jean Lecompte. Montréal, Canada

Jean Lecompte is web campaign manager and President of the board of directors of Cyclo Nord-Sud since 2015. He is a bike fanatic during summer as well as winter because it is “the best option to move about…I am not Ghandi but that’s just the way I like to contribute.”

Alexander Kedje. Hohoe, Ghana

Alexander Kedje is cofounder of the Shapes Lives Foundation whose mission is to develop projects tackling diverse issues: environmental protection, poverty reduction and access to health services. The Bikes for all program in collaboration with Cyclo Nord-Sud, gives local youths and underprivileged populations access to bikes in the Ho Hoe region.