There are many ways to raise awareness about clean water. Fundraisers, educational  programs, non-governmental organizations are all great ways to expose the issue on a global scale. However, 70-year old Chico, California native, Shirley Adams, created an innovative way to raise awareness. She decided to pedal cross-country for her organization, Bridging the Gap by Giving, which provides clean water to African countries.

Adams’s interest in water stemmed from her work as a swimming instructor. Today, she works year round to provide her organization with enough funds for new clean water projects in developing nations. Today, Shirley and her husband raise awareness and money through long distance cycling.

According to World Mag, her project began in 2005. Over the past seven years she has raised over $500,000 for her cause. As a result, around 14,000 have gained access to clean water in developing countries.

According to Adams, the project took off after she rode her bike cross-country wearing a shirt that read “everyone needs clean water.” The shirt included a link to the organization’s website. Amazingly, on that trip alone she raised more than $30,000. Her trip was so successful that even big corporations such as the Hilton foundation “matched it dollar for dollar.”

Most recently, Adams and her husband have set out on another cross-country venture. They rode on the 2,300 mile stretch that covers every state from Maine to Florida. In their time off, they focus on their family and church.

Adams has stated that they hope to beat their $30,000 mark, which was the highest amount the organization has ever raised via cross-country biking. The Adams family also hopes to publicize the cause by selling shirts, jackets, and caps along the way. They also plan to wear their shirts throughout the trip.

– Stephanie Olaya

Sources: World Mag, Bridging The Gap By Giving
Photo: NH Outdoors

Afghan Women Cycle for EqualityThe Afghan women cycle for equality. Although women throughout Afghanistan are rarely permitted to even drive cars, a group of Afghan females has been changing minds by riding bikes. The Afghan National Cycling Team, led by 16-year-old Salma Kakar, hopes to be the face of a new phenomenon in the country – more women riding bikes, and possibly even representing their country in the Olympic games.

A nonprofit started by U.S. cyclist Shannon Galpin, called Mountain2Mountain, helped give the team their initial bikes and other gear to get them started. Galpin, no stranger to Afghanistan herself, was involved in volunteer work in the country and during her time there had a chance to cycle throughout Afghanistan’s mountain trails.

Despite aid from Galpin and support from team coach Abdul Seddiqi, the women still face immense hurdles. Afghan men still hold the belief that women do not have a place in society outside of the home, and for this reason, the riders are often heckled and have even received death threats. Although the women cover their heads, wear long pants and sleeves when they ride, Seddiqi usually has them train in secret to avoid any danger.

Salma maintains that despite what many Afghan men may think, a few have actually shown support and Salma is confident that their cycling team will be able to create lasting change, with cycling being just the beginning of the road to Afghan women achieving new freedoms.

Galpin hopes that not only will the bicycles be a vehicle for the women to get around, but also a “vehicle for social change.”

Christina Kindlon

Source: NBC News