Founded by UC Davis alumnus Olowo-n’djo Tchal, Alaffia is a fair trade company that sells handcrafted shea butter from Africa. Last Saturday, April 28, it partnered up with Nugget Markets to collect bicycles from the public. The event started at 9 a.m. and lasted until 2 p.m. at the Nugget Market on East Covell Boulevard.
“This is the first time Nugget has joined with Alaffia for a bike drive,” said Dave Welch, store director of the Nugget Market on Covell in a press release. “Our entire nugget team is excited and read for a day of community fun and partnership for a wonderful, global cause.”
Donations were tax-deductible and guests received a free cup of coffee and a Nugget cookie.
Alaffia’s Bicycles for Education Program began in 2006 and since then over 4,500 bicycles have been donated. Many stores such as Whole Foods, Nugget Market and various grocery co-ops have been involved in gathering bicycles.
“We have a lot of local support, especially in California,” said Lanessa Inman, community project director at Alaffia. “Nugget Market has been a real great supporter in this drive.”
Once refurbished, these bicycles are given, not just to anyone, but to young girls who lack the transportation to walk five to 15 miles each way in order to attend school in Togo, West Africa.
The bicycles are specifically given to females because of Alaffia’s gender equality mission which considers women to be the backbone of African societies.
According to their website, these women shall be honored for their contributions to society by establishing gender equality in our communities.
“A lot of young women have chores at home and generally fall into prostitution if they do not attend school,” Inman said. “Giving bicycles to these girls in order to attend school will help them stray from prostitution and gain equality.”
“From the perspective of a woman, any kind of help that women can get to achieve their dreams is definitely an asset to a greater good,” said Vanessa Walker, a staff member at the Women’s Research Center at Sacramento State University.
Before the installment of this program, there was a 95 percent dropout rate among all students who did not have transportation. Now, that number has been tremendously reduced.
This decreased dropout rate isn’t, however, the only thing that’s been improved.
“Some girls were reduced to prostitution and we have seen a huge reduced amount of pregnancy and STD’s among young women,” Inman said.
“These [bicycles] go in a container, through customs, and are shipped to Togo, West Africa,” Inman said. “At the moment, we’re storing bikes in California and we’ll ship them all at the same time.”
For more information, visit alaffia.com.
MEE YANG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.