The future of African communities depends on the education and empowerment of young people. If our youth are helped with the dilemmas they face, such as harsh poverty and lack of infrastructure, they will be empowered to lead their communities in the future.
Since founding our shea butter cooperative in 2003, we have partnered with retail stores to collect school supplies and books to send to students in Togo, thereby offsetting the financial burden of attending school. We also build schools, donate desks and install new roofs on schools to make learning a more enjoyable experience.
In 2004, Alaffia began collecting and sending used bicycles to Togolese students to encourage them to stay in and complete school. Now, several years into the program, we are seeing a real impact on exam scores and retention in rural schools. 95% of Bicycles For Education recipients graduate secondary school.
We collect used bicycles in and around our communities in Washington and Oregon with the help of retailers, volunteers and Alaffia staff. All costs of this project – from collecting, repairing and shipping bicycles, to customs duties, distribution costs, ongoing maintenance and follow-up – are paid for through the sales of Alaffia products.
This project brings our communities in the US and Togo together. Bicycles that would otherwise be destined for the landfill are encouraging students in Togo to stay in school so they may lead their communities out of poverty.