Cycling is a sport of second chances. This is the embodying principal of Project Rwanda, a program which brings specially designed bikes to serve the farming and transportation needs of a nation on the mend from civil war and genocide that claimed 1 million lives.â€ Project Rwanda
Almost 14 years ago Rwanda suffered from a terrible genocide. Both the county and its people are still trying to rebuild their lives, society, and economy.
The country of Rwanda has about 500,000 small coffee producers, which grow coffee in small gardens. In 2006, Rwanda started selling specialty coffee direct to U.S. and European cities. The specialty coffee market has given them the potential for a dynamic and prosperous economy.
The process of transporting coffee to the washing stations is difficult. Because of overpopulation, the farmers can’t use animal transportation and trucks are too expensive to rent. Most farmers walk their crop between two and four kilometers to collection points.
Project Rwanda is a non-profit, volunteer based organization that that is committed to building utility bikes so that the people can transport coffee and re-establish their community. The innovation of bikes increases the carry capacity by five times and covers more than 5 times the walking area.
For the past few months I have been working with Tom Ritchey, founder of Project Rwanda. In September I will be traveling to Africa to document the lifestyles of the people with an emphasis on how they use bicycling. The pictures will be published in a coffee table book that will be used to educate others about the country and project. All proceeds from the book will be donated to continue to fund the project.
It has always been a dream of mine to make a coffee table book of my work and I can’t imagine a more perfect subject than the people of Rwanda experiencing life in a country that offers them so little.
Please feel free to contact [email protected] if you would like more information about the project or to offer prayers and support.