Life

Belfast Adsum charity needs helpers and more bikes for Madagascar

David MacCauley and helpers with the Adsum Foundation based in Belfast's Ormeau Road stack bikes into a container bound for Madagascar. Picture by Mal McCann
Gail Bell

MORE volunteers are needed to help with the ongoing work at a Belfast charity which repairs and restores unwanted/unloved bicycles and gets them back on the road in Madagascar.

The Adsum Foundation, based at Sunnyside Street on the Ormeau Road, works with Bike Aid Africa and has recently sent three 40-foot containers full of bicycles to the Indian Ocean island where they are distributed to people working in healthcare and education.

They are especially needed by farmers, fishermen and children travelling long distances to school, says charity member David Macauley, who has also appealed for more discarded bicycles and also financical donations to help fund escalating shipping costs.

"Bicycles sent to Madagasscar are distributed to people in education, basic healthcare, farming and water-well-boring projects," he says. "These locals now have transport to reach essential places which significantly improves the lives of people in their communities.

"It may seem strange, collecting people's old bicycles, but they really are put to good use in Madagascar where there is so much poverty and the roads, especially in the south of the country, are impassible for most of the year.

"A bike that has outlived its usefulness here can be refurbished and used by health visitors visiting patients, children and teachers going to school, or fishermen on the coasts who need to bring their catch to market further inland."

The charity collects bicycles across Northern Ireland and hybrids and mountain bikes for the rough Madagascan terrain are particularly needed.

"We accept all bikes that are in a reasonably serviceable condition and that we can make roadworthy again," says David, a retired dentist and member of Phoenix Cycling Club in Belfast. "Children's bikes are also sent out as we can pack them easily into the container."

Anyone who can help spare a few hours of their time and has a basic knowledge or bike repairs, anyone who wants to donate funds or just give away an old bike, can contact David on 0780 2660 433 or Brendan McCartan, who runs Adsum, on 0778 8108 727.

:: Donations can be made though http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/bikeaidmadagascar

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