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Bike, health, happiness: children’s bike scheme calls for donations

Photo: Pixabay Myla Brouwer’s mother is single and lives on a disability allowance. Buying a bicycle for her daughter, she told Dutch travellers’ association ANWB…

Saturday, Sep 10

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Photo: Pixabay Myla Brouwer’s mother is single and lives on a disability allowance. Buying a bicycle for her daughter, she told Dutch travellers’ association ANWB , was out of her reach.

All of Myla’s friends had bikes, as most children in the Netherlands do. Without one, Myla was excluded from much of the social life that is so common in this flat, bike-riding country.

Enter ANWB’s Children’s Bicycle Plan , which collects used bikes, fixes them up and distributes them through a nationwide network of local authorities and non-profit organisations to less privileged kids. Its goal? A bicycle for every child.

‘Right’ to cycle

‘It’s our way of contributing to the mobility of children, especially those who grow up in families without enough money to even buy a bicycle,’ says ANWB spokeswoman Annelies Tichelaar. ‘To have a bike in the Netherlands means freedom, the ability to get to school and clubs, to be with friends and participate in society. It is the right of children to get around.’

ANWB started the programme in 2015 after receiving a request for bicycles from an organisation in Rotterdam South that found many children could not get to its after school activities because they had no bikes or money for public transport. More than 10,000 children in Rotterdam still do not own bikes, according to the municipality. ANWB distributed 40 bicycles in that first year.

This year, it has already collected some 5,500 bicycles, but Tichelaar says this is not enough, especially in the current economic climate […]

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