Sebouh Bazikian founded Bikes 4 Orphans in 2012 after he’d met Carolyn Rowley, the director of the Machao Orphanage in Kenya, and heard from her how orphaned school children had to walk two hours to school, and two hours back.
“As a passionate cyclist, I offered to provide bicycles to the orphans because I knew that would be the perfect solution to their problem,” he explains. “I didn’t know what I had got myself into at first, but with the support of friends, family, and strangers we were able to deliver the 43 bicycles to the Machao Orphanage last summer.”
Inspired to change more children’s lives by providing them with transport and mobility, Sebouh continues to raise funds for bicycles for orphans. In March 2014, Bikes 4 Orphans purchased 11 Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles for children at the Khayelitsha Care Project in Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
“Wow! What a great gift!” said Andrea Heyns of the Khayelitsha Care Project as the bicycles were delivered. “Words cannot describe the happiness and excitement of the children and the staff. What a great way to start the school holiday! Thank you so much!”
In May 2014, Bikes 4 Orphans will provide 20 bicycles to the Daos Children Centre in Kenya, and Sebouh says that a delivery of a further 50 bicycles will be made in July 2014 to the orphanages run by Focus on Children Now in Armenia (the organisation with which Bikes 4 Orphans has recently merged with in order to become an official 501(c)3 non-profit organisation).
“The aim of Bikes 4 Orphans is to empower orphans with bicycles so they can have access to education, which is vital in poor regions, and to give them the independence to find jobs and create a successful future for themselves,” says Sebouh. “There are a lot of great organisations out there that build schools in poor regions, but sometimes they forget to address the problem of actually getting the children to schools. Bikes 4 Orphans, Qhubeka and World Bicycle Relief have all understood this problem, and know the power of bicycles.
“Bicycles provide the independence that the orphans need to create a successful future for themselves. The children at the Machao Orphanage were able to reduce the two-hour walk to only 30 minutes. In addition, three of the orphans were able to go to their jobs faster, which means working longer, but also making more money which they can invest in their future. One of those three orphans was able to visit his relative he had not seen in a very long time because he could travel by bicycle.
“In short, bicycles provide access to crucial resources like jobs and schools, and they are cheap compared to cars and more efficient compared to walking. Personally, I have used my own bike to go to my school a couple of times, and used it to go to work frequently during the summer. With bikes, the orphans do not have to be stuck at their orphanage because they have the resources they need to travel to farther places and to give them a chance at a better future.”
For more information on Bikes 4 Orphans, visit: