Rwandan coffee farmers in Gatsibo district in the Eastern Province, recently received new cargo bikes from students from a high school in Texas, US. The donation was channelled through Project Rwanda.
80 students from Clear and Creek High School in League City, Texas, fundraised $7,862 which was used to purchase the 35 bikes.
According to Kim Coats, the head of Project Rwanda, the donation offers an opportunity to coffee farmers to transform themselves from subsistence-level labourers to profitable farmers.
“With these bicycles, they will improve their business because coffee is one of Rwanda’s biggest exports, but getting coffee cherries to a centralized washing station so that they can be processed while still fresh is a big challenge when the cherries are coming from many small farms that are spread out along bad roads,” she said.
Coats added that the money was raised through sponsorships, the sale of special Clear Creek-Project Rwanda t-shirts and a benefit concert.
The bikes were delivered to Cacahu Coffee Cooperative in Kageyo Sector and distributed to the most dedicated members.
Claude Sekamana, the Cooperative’s Manager, hailed the project for the donation saying it would be instrumental in transforming the lives of the farmers.
“We are extremely happy with this donation of cargo bikes and we are touched that people who live so far away, who don’t even know us, have the heart to help us live better lives by improving the way we transport our coffee,” he said.
The Clear Creek high school students were inspired by their collaboration with Project Rwanda.
“This project has changed my life and that of my classmates, by giving us something to take with us for the rest of our lives,” says Carson Bonner, one of the students.
Since its founding in 2005, Project Rwanda has distributed more than 2,000 cargo bicycles to rural Rwandans whose jobs require them to travel long distances.