People pose with bamboo bikes (Twitter: @IamPortiaA)
Cape Town – A young social entrepreneur in Ghana is making waves by building bicycles from bamboo which she grows in her hometown of Kumasi, southern Ghana.
“There’s a lot of unemployment in the country and we didn’t want to just follow the masses and look for white-collar jobs. We wanted to come up with an idea that would also create employment for other youth,” said the young entrepreneur.
Her aim is to empower the youth in the area by creating employment opportunities and to make use of locally sourced raw materials – such as bamboo.
Dapaah’s initiative has trained and employed 35 young people to date and she plans to expand and open workshops in other areas, creating more job opportunities.
The bike itself is not only affordable and environmentally friendly (reduces carbon emissions by up to 70%), but the frame is also recyclable. Dapaah points out that bamboo is also five times stronger than steel and the construction of bamboo bikes uses less energy than conventional steel bikes.
The bikes are priced at $120 each. In addition, Dapaah also donates bikes to school children in Kumasi.
Ten more bamboo trees are planted for every plant cut down.
Today, bamboo bikes are reportedly gaining popularity in Ghana and the surrounding countries in West Africa.
More than 1 000 bikes have been sold in Ghana and to Europe and the US.
“My favourite part of the job is when I go to the workshop to see the youths and know they are able to earn a living. I feel so happy when I see we have been able to create a bit of laughter for them,”said Dapaah.
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