Over 100 donated bicycles are being sent from a rural town in southern New South Wales to Samoa to help young girls get to school and one day help them with an income.
- The donation of 110 bicycles is part of the 100th anniversary of Soroptimist International
- The bikes will be used to give isolated young girls the opportunity to travel and earn an income
- The bikes are expected to arrive in Samoa in March
The 110 bikes were collected by the Soroptimist Group in Griffith, part of an international movement to improve the lives of women and girls, as part of the organisation’s 100th anniversary.
The local community was invited to donate bicycles in good condition with a volunteer to restore each one.
Buying a new or second-hand bicycle can be difficult for Samoans earning a small income of less than 10 tala (or 5 Australian dollars) a day, said Soroptimist International Samoa President Leniu Asaua Faasino.
Some of the bicycles will be given to girls who live in isolated or remote areas to give them transportation to get to the bus, school or shops, which often involves a walk of more than three kilometers.
But the bikes won’t just be used for getting around, with Ms Fassino working in partnership with hotels to make them available for tourists to hire as well.
It is part of the group’s work to help local girls pay school fees and give them skills to earn an income.
This is a goal shared by the Griffith Chapter in Australia.
More than bikes
Pillows, linens and school supplies will be sent with the bikes, and Ms Faasino said these items will be used to set up a leisure center at the Soroptimist office on the island.
“The idea of the leisure center is for our elderly mothers to have a safe and pleasant place to look after them while their children or family are at school,” she said.
“As we work more with the community, we will also be able to assess people who may need it, and we will donate specifically for them”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused several delays and an unexpected increase in shipping costs for Griffith Soroptimists.
The shipment will arrive in Samoa in March, and members of the Griffith Group are relieved to see it leave their region.
“We closed the doors of that container and did a happy little dance,” Ms. Trembath said.