One yellow bike

Posted on February 11, 2014

bike_yellowLast night was the film premiere of a heart-warming short movie about a little yellow bicycle. Said bicycle embarked on a rather long journey from Dubai to Uganda during which it was transformed from a toy to a life-changer. Literally!

The film told the story of a little girl, Fay. Fay used to ride her bike for fun with her friends in Dubai but decided to donate it to a much worthier cause in Uganda. The story follows the journey that her bike made, from departing Dubai on a cargo ship, crossing rough seas to Tanzania, then from there, travelling by train and truck, along narrow and bumpy roads from Ugandan capital Kampala to the remote village of Abim. The film shows Fay in Uganda too, chatting with Jendyose, the little girl who received her bike.

It all sounds like a sweet little story, sure. Except, it’s not just a fairy tale. The key message conveyed is just how great an impact bicycles can have on remote Ugandan communities… how they can create empowerment, opportunity, prosperity and most critical of all, hope.

Think about it.

In a country where children often need walk four hours every day just to attend school, a bicycle becomes a vehicle that more than halves this commute. This means the school drop out rate reduces and more children are educated.

In a country where HIV is rife and health clinics are often a long way from people’s homes, a bicycle becomes a vehicle to enable more individuals to be treated, with greater frequency. This means that lives are prolonged. Similarly, in the case of other treatable diseases, it means lives are saved.

In a country were families depend on the income generated by farming, a bicycle becomes a vehicle to enable farmers to travel further, to sell their produce where sale prices are highest. This means that more money is earned, living standards are raised, more mouths are fed and more bodies are clothed.

Two of the three main men behind the making of the little yellow bike story, I know. I worked recently on a project for film producer, Ahmed Samerai at his company, Sahara Communications. Behind the camera was Paul McConkey, a mad but lovable Irish man who kept me highly entertained at Sahara’s HQ. The seed that planted the making of the film came just last year, when the Ahmed Samerai and Ben Stiller Foundations donated 1,500 bicycles to Uganda.

I left the movie theatre with a spring in my step, not only thanks to the wonderful company in tow but because I love the fact that this lovely story of one simple little bike demonstrates so beautifully what an enormous impact bikes can have on impoverished and disadvantaged communities… just as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so is a bike, one individual’s toy and another, their lifeline.

So I hope many more see this movie… and I hope other kids like Fay, rich with toys, may consider donating their old bikes to such a wonderful cause. Adults too. I can imagine the rewards to be had from knowing what fundamental changes they’ve made to the lives of others, will more than make up for having one less toy to play with.

Just think. Your bike has the potential to be a school bus, an ambulance, a farm truck and a water tank. Your bike has the potential to transform lives!

Check out and support if you can.

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