Kirkland school salvaging old bikes to change lives in developing countries

Kirkland school salvaging old bikes to change lives in developing countries
On Saturday morning, normally a day off, Anne Vrana was in the parking lot of the Margaret Manson Elementary School in Kirkland, Que., to collect used bikes.

Vrana is responsible for community life at the school, where she explained that part of her job is to “incite kids to get involved in projects that make them think about their reason for being.”

Saturday’s event was one such example.

Vrana said the idea to team up with Cyclo Nord-Sud was an initiative of the school’s environment club.

Cyclo Nord- Sud collects used bicycles in the North, and ships them to developing countries throughout the world, where they get a second life and contribute to the economic development of local communities.

“The bicycles are given to communities which use them to learn how to dismantle or fix bicycles. They are also used within the community for jobs or transportation… whatever they need,” Vrana said.

Bikes that can’t be re-used are stripped for their parts and used to make tools such as water pumps, washing machines, winches, generators and much more, according to Cyclo Nord-Sud’s website.

For Vrana, it’s important for students to broaden their horizons.

“This is definitely something we’ll be talking about in our classrooms with our environment club,” she said. “It just gives a different perspective on how you can be involved globally.”

“We work a lot on the local and then we try to go out further in the community. If we can do a global action, it incites our kids to realize they’re not living in this little bubble.”

While organizers hopes to collect many bicycles, the goal of the bike drive was to raise awareness about how simple actions can have a lasting impact.

“A small action, such as putting your bicycle into your trunk and bringing it somewhere does make a difference,” Vrana insisted. “Your simple acts of kindness, of generosity, can be very impacting on another community. That’s the ultimate goal, that raising of awareness.”

People who dropped off their bikes were also asked for a $15 donation to help pay for transportation of the bicycles to receiving communities. Vrana said tax receipts were issued for the value of the bike and the $15 donation.

Cylco Nord-Sud hosts used-bike drives across the province. According to Vrana, there was a similar event happening in Gatineau on Saturday.
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