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Bikes for the World

Bikes for the World/Brunswick Corp. donate bikes and cash for Sri Lanka tsunami relief

06.15.2005
Arlington, Virginia
Bikes for the World/Brunswick Corp. donate bikes and cash for Sri Lanka tsunami relief

On May 26, the Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), in cooperation with Bikes for the World, dispatched a 40-foot container holding 225 brand-new Roadmaster mountain bikes, destined to provide essential transportation to rural and small town residents of northern and eastern Sri Lanka who have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed by the recent tsunami.

Shipping will be funded by the Sri Lanka Association of Greater Washington (SLAGW), which will be responsible for assembling and distributing the bikes to local charities for targeted gifting to deserving individuals affected by the tsunami. The boxed new bikes donated by Brunswick will join 700 used bikes collected by Bikes for the World and another not-for-profit group, the Working Bikes Cooperative, in the Washington DC and Chicago areas, respectively. The goal is to begin to replace the thousands of bicycles, which had previously been used by low-income residents for transport to work and school, and were lost in the tsunami.

SLAGW's current plans are to donate the bikes in batches of approximately 50 to as many as eight local organizations representing Sri Lanka's ethnically and religiously diverse population. Approximately 100 bikes, for example, are anticipated to go to a Catholic-run school in the south, whose 2,100 students are presently without the school building destroyed in the flood. SLAGW previously refurnished the school; the 100 bikes will be given to students who commute long distances to the school and who are at risk of dropping out owing to the transportation difficulties and family economic needs occasioned by the flood. Another batch will go to the community of Batticoloa, located in the hard-hit eastern region, where 25 Muslim organizations have joined together and requested bicycles to assist in economic reactivation efforts.

Another 50 bikes will go to the nearby fishing community of Ampare, distributed through the local chamber of commerce, benefiting a mixed Sinhalese (Buddhist) and Muslim population. Finally, in the northern community of Jaffna, SLAGW will provide at least another 50 bicycles to a Tamil (Hindu) board of education building an emergency orphanage to house 300 child survivors, and 50 womens bicycles to refugee camp housing many widows who must now work to support themselves and their families.

Bikes for the World's mission is to put donated American bicycles to productive use in developing countries. Each year, Americans purchase between 16 and 18 million new bicycles, and discard unknown millions of old ones. Millions more useable bikes gather dust in corporate warehouses and private basements and garages. Meanwhile, many poor people overseas who have little alternative but to walk to get to jobs, schools, and markets, are willing to assemble or repair bicycles inexpensively and, in many cases, are able to pay a modest price for them.

In response, Bikes for the World -- a sponsored project of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association--enlists more than 75 communities of faith, scout troops, service clubs, corporations, bike shops, and schools across the mid-Atlantic region to undertake one-time community bike drives to rescue this under-appreciated resource. During 2005, Bikes for the World expects to collect and ship more than 5,000 bicycles to non-profit partner organizations in Guatemala, Ghana, South Africa, and other countries, as well as Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lanka Association of Greater Washington (SLAGW) is the 501c3 charitable arm of the Sri Lanka Association of Washington (SLAWDC), a social organization of the Sri Lankan community in the Washington, D.C. area. SLAGW was founded in June 2001 to support charitable and educational activities benefiting the Sri Lankan expatriate community along with programs in Sri Lanka addressing the deteriorating social conditions resulting from the countrys devastating civil war. In the aftermath of the Dec. 26 tsunami, SLAGW has accelerated its fundraising and support activities to assist emergency relief and long-term economic reactivation.

For further information on the Brunswick Corporation, visit www.brunswick.com.
For information on Bikes for the World, visit www.bikesfortheworld.org, or call Keith Oberg at 703-525-0931.
For further information on the Sri Lanka Association of Greater Washington, visit www.slawdc.com

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Contacts
Bikes for the World
(703) 525-0931
koberg@verizon.net
www.bikesfortheworld.org

More from Bikes for the World:
Bikes for the World/Brunswick Corp. donate bikes and cash for Sri Lanka tsunami relief
Bikes for the World and Dick's Sporting Goods Team Up for Bike Trade-In Program

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