An Interview With Michelle Lefler – Wheels for Change
Kraft Canada is excited to tell you that the doors of the Cadbury Bicycle Factory are open for the third year in a row! I thought this might be of interest to you as it’s an inspirational story about two Canadians who traveled to Ghana to hand-deliver bikes for a good cause.
To celebrate the return of bike season –The Cadbury Bicycle Factory is in full swing! Running for a limited time, the program lets Canadians help build bikes for children living in rural Ghana. For Canadians, bikes mean warmer weather, exercise and fun – but for these children, bikes mean access to education and a chance for a brighter future.
Also, feel free to spread the word about the Cadbury Bicycle Factory by tweeting us @bicyclefactory, using the hashtag #thebicyclefactory, or becoming a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bicyclefactory . Our documentary, Wheels of Change, is now online at www.youtube.com/thebicyclefactory. About The Bicycle Factory Running for a limited time, Canadians are able to purchase participating Cadbury products and upload the UPC to www.thebicyclefactory.ca. Each UPC code equals one virtual bike part. For every 100 parts donated, one real bike is created and delivered to communities in Ghana. These bikes represent the opportunity to travel to school safely, they can also act as an ambulance, water delivery vehicle and much more.
I interviewed Michelle Lefler from Kraft Foods about her trip to the Cadbury Bicycle Factory and here is what she had to say:
1. What was the driving force behind your involvement of the delivery of 4,000 bikes to Ghana? Why was it so important for you to become involved on a personal level?
Cadbury has a long standing commitment of giving back to our cocoa growing communities. Over a century ago, the Cadbury brothers began sourcing cocoa from Ghana, West Africa, and in that time we have established programs that focus on improving economic, sustainable and environmental practices. The Bicycle Factory program was designed with these communities in mind, with a specific objective of improving access to health care, education and business opportunities.
Since The Bicycle Factory program was created in 2009, I have been incredibly proud to be a part of making this impact on the lives of children and communities in Ghana. It was an honour to join the group earlier this year and to witness the delivery of those bicycles.
2. Where there any sacrifices in your own life that you had to make in order to join this cause?
No, attending the trip was an absolute honour.
3. What was your first impression and reaction once you arrived at your destination?
I was pleasantly amazed at the gracious hospitality of the Ghanian people and the beauty of the women and children. I felt incredibly proud to bring change to the communities we were visiting. It was also very special for me to finally witness the Ghanian life after supporting The Bicycle Factory for so many years.
4. How were you greeted by the community of Ghana upon your arrival?
The community welcomed us with open arms and went to great lengths to allow us to experience their culture through celebration, dance and ceremony. It was something I’ll never forget.
5. What is everyday life like for the people of Ghana?
In the communities I visited, the main industry is cocoa. As a world class producer of cocoa, the enterprise is growing, including the rise of Fair Trade cooperatives which abide by the same principles as Cadbury’s signature Cadbury Cocoa Partnership.
6. What does the Wheels for Change program mean for the people of Ghana?
The Bicycle Factory program brings improved mobility to children, who then have greater access to education and a brighter future. All thanks to the bicycle.
7. If there was one thing that stood out in your mind of your experience delivering these bikes to Ghana, what would it be?
That we, as Canadians, are lucky. We take access to school, health care, clean water for granted. But that it’s so simple to bring this kind of access to someone else.
8. How can other Canadians get involved with the Cadbury Bicycle Factory in the Wheels for Change program?
Until July 31st, 2011, Canadians can simply log onto www.facebook.com/bicyclefactory and enter the UPC code from any participating Cadbury product including chocolate bar favourites such as Caramilk and Dairy Milk and great brands like Toblerone, Côte d’Or, Trident, Dentyne, Stride, Maynards candies and HALLS. One UPC code entered on the site equals one virtual bicycle part and it takes 100 virtual parts to create one actual bicycle. But Fair Trade Certified Cadbury Dairy Milk bars are equivalent to two virtual bike parts, helping to build twice as fast! All entrants will be qualified to win a trip to Ghana for an experience of a lifetime as they’ll be invited to join the 2012 delivery of bicycles!
There are only a few weeks left until The Bicycle Factory closes its doors and we are counting on Canadians for their support! For a limited time, Canadians can also win a free Trident gum gift pack by going to the Facebook page and entering 5 unique UPC codes. Good luck!