Does Cyclo Nord Sud, our champion charity, airdrop shipping containers full of free bicycles on developing nations?
No. The used bikes that CNS collects are sent to community groups in countries in the South, who sell them at accessible prices.
They sell the bikes? Then how is Cyclo Nord Sud a legitimate charity? Why should I donate money to support a fake used bike shop?
It´s like this. Southern partners go through an extensive selection process. They must be a non-profit cooperative that helps disadvantaged people and have a vision of how the bikes will improve people’s lives by helping them get around (to work, to school, to market, etc). The funds from bike sales are used to keep the organizations afloat.
Meanwhile, collecting the used bikes on our end keeps them out of Canadian landfills.
There’s some philosophical stuff in there too, like helping women gain access to income and education opportunities by giving them more mobility, and challenging standard North-South relationships often defined by less than equitable trade terms set by rich countries to the detriment of poorer ones.
So where does the money go?
The partners we’ve visited during our trip use the funds from the sale of used Canadian bikes for things like:
• Room, board and Braille machines for children in a school for the visually-impaired in Estelli, Nicaragua;
• A bike mechanic training program for at-risk youth in San Salvador;
• Disaster-relief shelters and affordable disaster-resistant housing for Nicaraguans and Haitians.
Students from Estelli’s school for the visually-impaired
Youth from CESTA’s bike mechanic program in San Salvador
ECOSUR’s staff in Jinotepe, Nicaragua tackle disaster-proof designs
Why does Cyclo Nord Sud need money?
The cost for processing and shipping a container of 450 bikes is about $20 000. Cyclo Nord Sud shells out the whole amount for a new partner’s first container. Afterward, once the partner’s bike program is running sustainably, CNS pays half of the shipping cost. CNS relies on donors for these funds. CNS has over 10 active partners in Latin America and Africa.
Please donate! Every dollar counts!