During the first two decades of its existence the PCW concentrated mainly on dance and drama as their main activities to propel change within marginalized communities in Barbados. To this the CEO Mr. Rodney Grant stated, “In light of the developed state of the cultural environment in Barbados we believe that the time is opportune to provide a more rounded product in the hope to reach greater markets and target groups. This would also afford us the opportunity to reach a greater cross section of youth, providing them with opportunities in the arts and other critical social and economic development areas.”
Over the past ten years the Pinelands community like the rest of low-income communities in Barbados has been witnessing a resurgence of violent activity, which can be attributed to the trade in illicit drugs and the lack of opportunities for youth, particularly men, who find themselves idle.
In an effort to create positive change within the Pinelands and wider Barbadian communities the PCW has expanded its cultural mandate to include other social and economic development initiatives to reach and target individuals and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO).
These interventions which focuses on homework for disadvantaged children, support to pregnant teens to support their re-entry into school or employment, Career and Life Development for out of school youth and an expanded cultural programme which involves various musical instruments and a focus on boys has in large been supported through funds raised from sales of bikes through the ‘Bikes for the World’ initiative.
At a time when the world is going through the worst economic downturn in this modern era we are beginning to see signs of significant social and economic fallout by low-wage earners and the vulnerable as they struggle to navigate their existence through these turbulent times. Likewise, organizations who service these target groups are equally challenged to deliver services as existing funders decrease the amount of resources available or in some cases withdraw support altogether.
It is in this regard that Bikes for the World stands out as a valuable and dependent source of on-going financial support through their collection of bikes which are donated to NGOs across the world in support of their programmes to assist those in need.
Shelly Durant Financial Manager of PCW had this to say, “The BFW project has been beneficial to Pinelands in more ways than one. Not only have we been able to offer low income bikes to persons but the funds received has been able to keep the organisation afloat for the past 3 years due to the down turn in the economy. Without this project we ourselves at Pinelands would have had to look for alternatives. While funding is received through other projects the bicycle project is the only project that has been consistent, dependable and we don’t have to wait for an approval. Many days we have been able to provide lunch, bus-fare, gas, school books or some small contributions to persons in the community who had nowhere else to turn but the doors of the Workshop. Without the bicycle project this would be impossible. Keep the good work up, and we look forward to your continuous support.”
In 2005, Bikes for the World became the principal supplier of the Pinelands bicycle initiative providing affordable transportation for recreational, educational, and employment use. The Bicycle Project generates revenue through bicycle sales to help subsidize core administrative and programmatic expenses within PCW.
One such program is Meals on Wheels, started in 1997, which provides meals to elderly, shut-ins, and disable individuals in and around the Pine. With funds generated by bicycle sales, PCW is able to pay cooks, purchase disposable food containers, and contribute to the overall cost of running the vehicles to collect and provide food.
In expressing her support of Bikes for The World, Sophia Greaves-Broome, Special Projects Director with the Marcus Garvey Resource and Development Centre (MGRDC) the Training Arm of the PCW stated, “The bicycle project over the last 8 years has allowed the MGRDC to deliver quality and relevant programs at the community level responding to expressed needs of over 3000 residents who can be categorized as either unemployed, underemployed, unskilled, vulnerable and/or living in poverty. Furthermore the injection of support has added considerable social value to the community and the empowerment of beneficiaries. Overall, the Bicycle Project is a value added and stands as an adoptable model for civil society locally or regionally where social enterprise is utilized to ensure financial and organizational sustainability.”
As we move closer to celebrating our thirty-sixth (36) year as an NGO in 2014 and our eighth year as a grateful recipient of support from Bikes for the World, we can only but pay significant tribute to those men and women who form this outstanding philanthropic organization and who work hard each year to support outstanding causes around the world.
“At home here in Barbados we recognize and salute the contributions of Bikes for The World to employment for those who work within our bike shop and mange it, those Barbadians who rely on this source of affordable transportation to conduct their day’s activities and the many children and young adults who are able to participate in life changing activities,” stated Rodney Grant, CEO.