Bicycles for Africa

Murray Bell of Bell Architects, Ballymoney in amongst the hundreds of bikes loaded inside the container that have been donated for the Bikes4Africa appeal at the Loughanhill Recycle centre.
Murray Bell of Bell Architects, Ballymoney in amongst the hundreds of bikes loaded inside the container that have been donated for the Bikes4Africa appeal at the Loughanhill Recycle centre.

OVER 300 generous people in Coleraine have, perhaps unwittingly, donated their unloved bicycles to orphan children in Africa.

For Coleraine Borough Council has teamed up with local architect, Murray Bell, to help collect unwanted bicycles, in good condition, for Africa.

The recycling depot in Coleraine is currently packed with bikes of all shapes and sizes but these will shortly begin their long journey to Bulembu in Swaziland.

Located a five hour drive from Johannesburg SA, Bulembu is a town of 2,000 people in Swaziland. In 2001, the UK mining company that had built and operated in Bulembu for more than 60 years, closed its doors and walked away.

The town was left with no employment and the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world. This deadly infection has orphaned approximately 120, 000 children, destroyed the traditional family structure and, if unaddressed, could wipe out the Swazi population by 2050. Two thirds of Swazis live on less than $1 a day.

Murray Bell, Bulembu activist, explained, “Five years ago, a team of entrepreneurs and social developers created a vision to restore Bulembu to a vibrant, self-sustaining community by 2020. A variety of Community Care programmes are transforming the town by restoring basic social services to the community including a clinic, schools, churches, training centres and other community organizations.

“We are appealing to people in the Triangle area to donate their unwanted bicycles to this worthy cause and we are delighted to have received around 300 bikes so far. Donated bikes don’t need to be perfect, although preferably in workable condition. The African team in Bulembu will be able to make some repairs and improvements but when these bikes arrive there will be 300 orphans hanging around the container doors, so they will need to be ready quickly!”

Bicycles can be donated to Bikes 4 Africa at Coleraine Borough Council’s Coleraine Recycling Site, Gateside Road, Coleraine. Spring opening hours are: 8.30am to 7.45pm, Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday).

For more information on Bikes for Africa, please go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bikes-for-Africa-NI/184972244853021

For more information, or to make a donation to Bulembu, please go to www.Bulembu.org or contact Murray Bell tel; (028) 2766 6406 or email; murray@bell-architects.com