Can Bicycles Change The World? Ms Magazine


Thank you to Ms. Magazine for publishing my story, “A Bicycle Built for Many!” about Chipego Bike shop in Nakatindi Village, Zambia on page 17 of the Winter 2019 issue.

Lisa Niver with her print article in Ms. Magazine!
Lisa Niver with her print article in Ms. Magazine!

Lisa Niver in Ms. Magazine Jan 2019African Bike Project by Lisa Niver in Ms. Magazine Jan 2019

Lisa Niver with her print article in Ms. Magazine!
Lisa Niver with her print article in Ms. Magazine!

Esther Kawewe had a dream: to go to school, build her family a house, and help her brother support the family. But her father wasn’t working, her mother sold vegetables in a roadside market stall, and there wasn’t enough money for school–so Esther stayed home with her three younger siblings and hoped that things might someday change in Nakatindi Village, Zambia.

When the Chipego Bike shop opened in September 2015, Esther was one of five women selected by her community to train for two months as a bicycle mechanic and business owner. It changed everything.

Bikes destined for the trash heap in the United States are instead sent to Africa, creating transformations in women’s lives through the repairing and sale of bikes and their parts.

Chipego Bike Shop (Chipego means “gift” in the local language) was started by Abercrombie and Kent Philanthropy (AKP), as the first of six bicycle enterprise projects now in existence. The bicycles from the shop not only provide living wages for women in the community, but they allow for students and workers to travel quickly and safely to school and work, and for health-care workers to see more patients, even in outlying areas. Some students travel seven miles to the nearest secondary school; this was a three hour daily round trip by foot, but by bicycle is only twenty minutes each direction.

What is the impact of nearly 9,000 bicycles sent to the different shops? Esther Kawewe says, “Working here has been life-changing, because firstly I am supporting my family. And I have built a big house, and I’ve taken myself to school.”

Not only have 25 full-time jobs for women (plus 18 part-time jobs) been created, but the perception of what is “appropriate” for women to do has evolved. David Mweemba, Senior Safari Guide at Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma notes that, “Seeing these women repairing bicycles at the shop is changing the mindset of men and women in the village.”

Esther adds that in her village, at first “They thought this job was only for men. Now us women, we can do it. I’m proud of being a bike mechanic!”

One of the other bike shop owners is Bridget Mayumbelo, whose schooling ended at seventh grade. But through the bike-shop success, she’s been able to continue sending her five children to school, as well as take in and support 2 orphans. “I am very happy in this project,” she smiles, “I think my family will now be comfortable.”

Sehenyi “Shex” Tlotlego, A&K Philanthropy Coordinator in Botswana, says said that in “Empowering women we know we are not just reaching out to one individual but to several

other people who depend on her for a livelihood. . . . education, health, food on the table, and a roof over their heads.”

Bicycles destined for the dump in the U.S. but rejuvenated in Africa are transforming lives with mobility, wages, schooling, and pride. — Lisa Niver

Learn more at akphilanthropy: “Every bike has the power to change lives.”

Changing Lives, One Bike at a Time video Aug 2018:

Changing Lives One Spoke as a Time

Video: Changing Lives One Spoke as a Time

Thank you to Abercrombie and Kent USA for your help with my story and my first African safari in Tanzania and Kenya.

My safari adventures in Africa 2018:

Part 1: Where Did I Travel on My First African Safari?

Part 2: Are You Ready? Today We Are Going to the Serengeti!

Part 3: What is the Best Way to Travel from Tanzania to Kenya?

Part 4: How can you see Black Rhino, Maasai Warriors and Hula Hoops?

Part 5: Do You Love The Animals of Africa?

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.

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