Non-Profit Teaches Villagers How to Make Homemade Bike Ambulances, Saving Thousands of Lives

When Chris Ategeka was just 9 years old, living in a remote village in Uganda, his younger brother died from an illness while his family attempted to carry him to the closest hospital 10 miles away. Later in life, when he had the ability to study engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Ategeka knew that he had to find a solution to a problem that faces so many rural Ugandans: a lack of mobility. Today at the age of 28, Ategeka is the founder of CA Bikes, a non-profit that teaches villagers how to make bikes, wheelchairs and “ambulances” out of scrap metal through local workshops. Ategeka estimates that just 100 of his specially designed bike ambulances can transport as many as 10,000 patients every month. In addition to providing a means for sick villagers to get to far-off hospitals, the bikes have also become a valuable tool for delivering AIDS medication. Though Ategeka said that the demand for the bikes is so high that funding is a constant challenge, he hopes that one day the organization will become self-sustaining, so that in addition to providing a life-saving service, it can also be a source of jobs for Ugandans …

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