I woke up on the back of a bicycle— muscles aching, body weak, and feeling disoriented. I don’t remember the night before, but I could fill in the blanks: malaria.

So there I was, a seven-year-old Ugandan boy, flopping around on the carrier of a neighbor’s bicycle, onward to the nearest hospital as someone pushed me. The trek, over ten miles in our remote area of Kiyaga, could take hours by foot, a risky amount of time when diseases like malaria hit. But I was lucky because one of our neighbors owned a bicycle.

Here’s the frightening part: my story is not unique. I grew up in a nation where few have the chance to own a bicycle. It’s a simple vehicle, but it saves lives in times of need. Bicycles also mean access to markets to trade and earn income; they mean a ride to school for education, and transportation to clean water sources. Bicycles mean freedom, empowerment, and opportunity.

This is why I founded Bicycles Against Poverty. I wanted to get bicycles into the hands of individuals who need them and who could use them to their full potential. I knew that I was not the only one who had experienced this lack of access, but rather entire nations experience it. So when I came to the U.S. in 2007 I decided I would change my country and I immediately realized that bicycles are the way to do that.
— Muyambi, Founder of Bicycles Against Poverty