Cadbury Gives Kids a Chance and 100 Sweeps
I recently was given the opportunity to learn about an amazing Canadian-based program called the Cadbury’s Bicycle Factory. Initiated by the well-known chocolatiers, the Cadbury’s Bicycle Factory provides children in Ghana with bicycles to help make their daily lives a little easier. These children (who are hand-picked by associated charitable organizations based in Ghana are the children of the cocoa farmers that Cadbury’s employs to grow the cocoa that eventually gets turned into that yummy chocolate that you’re likely to be enjoying right now.
The children often live far out of the city centers, and in order to get to school, have to walk at least 2 hours to get into the city where the schools are located. Their required daily chores on the cocoa farms often take precedence, and school, especially at the middle school level, takes second place or becomes an impossible dream for many of them. Their lives are often incomparable to even the hardest working adult in North America, and their days are often longer than any of us can imagine.
The bicycles provided by the Cadbury’s Bicycle Factory can cut these children’s commutes down to a quarter of the length of their journeys, giving them the gift of time to finish chores, complete homework or to live as we know our children to live for just a moment. The bicycles are also equipped with baskets that allow the children to relieve some of their loads when fetching clean water, firewood, food or even when taking heavy books to and from the classroom.
The best thing about the Cadbury’s Bicycle Factory, is that it is a program that does not ask you for anything other than five minutes out of your day to log in, drag and drop a chocolate or candy through the virtual gear into virtual Africa and create a bike part. You are allowed five per day, and this never costs you a cent. When you reach 100 pieces of candy, which is equivalent to 100 bike parts, you have created an entire bike. A real bike that will be given to a specific child to give them a chance to be able to choose their futures.
“Even while you’re at breakfast, you can even do it on your mobile phones. It’s so easy. That’s how I’ve been doing mine actually, because I’ve been on the road I’ve been logging in every day. It’s honestly gratifying… and it is SO easy.”
For more information on this amazing program, please feel free to read through the interview with Heather and Aditi (from Kraft)below, but whatever you do, please do go on over to the Cadbury’s Bicycle Factory, log in and create a bike as an individual or even as a family team today.
***********GIVEAWAY – Don’t leave too quick; we’re giving away a “Bike in a Basket” Gift basket, see contents and enter below! (CANADA only)**************
Interview with Olympic Gold Medallist, Heather Moyse & Aditi Burman, Kraft Senior Promotions Manager
Interview by Serena of Bewildered Bug
Cadbury’s Bicycle Factory
ME: Why did you change from bobsledding/bobsleighing to cycling?
HEATHER: I hurt my ankle playing rugby in the World Cup and it hasn’t quite healed yet. I have chosen to take this year and do something that I could still keep speed and power up without impact on my ankle. In cycling, there’s no impact, so it’s been really good.
ME: How did you find out about Cadbury’s Bicycle Factory and what made you decide to get involved?
HEATHER: I’m the ambassador for the charity “Right to Play” and the director, Robert Mitchell, contacted me to see if this was a project that I would be interested in. There’s a good connection because with bikes now being part of my career and my life, as well as the work that I’ve done in Africa, it kind of seemed like a perfect fit.
ADITI: I really wanted to get somebody who really understands Africa and the mobility challenges and so Robert Mitchell thought of Heather immediately and recommended her.
ME: Why did you choose this program, as opposed to any other? Was it just because of the cycling or was it because you got recommended or…
HEATHER: I think it’s the things that that I connect with and that speak to me and what I believe in and my values. This is just one that really spoke to me and it’s an important one. I think the cycling connection is what made me appealing to them.
ME (to Aditi): Why did you choose to go with a cycling project?
ADITI: We’ve been active in Ghana for many, many years enriching the lives of the cocoa farmers that we work with, because that’s really where we source our most important ingredient, you know, of our chocolate, right? We wanted to do some type of promotion, so the idea was really brought about because we did a whole needs assessment and we found that the middle school students were having a challenge getting to school because the schools were all really far. So we thought we could actually provide bicycles through this promotion and it would increase access to education.
ME: Do you only get your cocoa from Ghana or do you source it from other places in the world as well?
ADITI: The cocoa partnership that we have is in four parts of the world, it’s all over, we’ve got it in India, the Caribbean…but the majority is in Ghana …
ME: Are you looking to expand it to the other areas?
ADITI: Maybe in the future, but right now we’ve gotten some really positive feedback from the students but there’s still so many other students that need bikes…so we’re not that keen right now on just jumping from one place to another to expand it. We really want to focus on Ghana to do it properly. What we want to do is go deeper and actually do more sustainability. Now that we’ve had bikes there for a while, how do we make sure that we maintain them, do the training and so on.
ME: Can you explain why the bike would make such a difference in like, a child’s life, or even an adults life?
ADITI: It cuts down on time. It’s four times faster and it can carry such a huge percentage of the weight.
HEATHER: A bicycle is actually the difference, for a lot of these kids, between getting an education or not. In North America, we know the value of education, so we’re trying to help translate the importance of education to them.
ADITI: The bikes are actually given to students who are living at least 3 km away from their school and they must show an attendance record, improved grades and so on. Partner agencies monitor the bikes to make sure that they’re going and staying with the people they’re supposed to stay with.
ME: How did you choose which villages to start focusing on first?
ADITI: The communities of cocoa farmers that we already deal with are in that Southern part of Ghana. and many of the kids are actually of the cocoa farmers’ kids. It’s the villages where we’ve got our partner agencies because we have to focus on where we already have the infrastructure. It’s the only way that we can control distribution, maintenance and where these bikes are going, and to ensure that they’re getting to the right hands.
ME: How did you prioritize which specific villages you started with?
ADITI: We have a whole network called Cadbury Cocoa Partnership and it’s based with organizations like C.A.R.E., World Vision Ghana, V.S.O and they’re based in different communities. We ask our community leaders to give us the recommendations based on why and how far they live, why they need a bike over another student. It’s pretty detailed and we start every year’s program ten months in advance figuring out where the bikes are going to go, even before they’re built.
ME: Have you already started a maintenance program?
ADITI: Yes, we work also with Village Bicycling Project who are based in Ghana. They are responsible for logistically assembling bikes, teaching the communities how to put them together and how to do simple repairs and we equip the bikes with simple toolkits. What we’ve now also just started is assessing the conditions of the bikes we gave to these kids two years ago. We’re trying to look at this service in a more holistic way.
ME: What were both of your favourite parts about visiting the Africa
ADITI: I think for me, when I went there, it’s just the warmth of the people. They are so appreciative of everything and what Cadbury even means to them.
HEATHER: I was going to say the people as well, but also, part of my visit was that I got to visit some of the schools and the energy of the kids is overwhelmingly amazing. I mean, they sing about EVERYTHING and how much they embrace music and song…I think I love that the best. And you know what’s funny, we got just as much excitement from the little kids around that weren’t even getting any bicycles. They’re just so excited, it’s just wonderful. It’s wonderful people who are so happy and so gracious and so appreciative of something that to us Canadians seems like nothing.
ME: What type of marketing are you guys doing to get the word out about the Cadbury Bicycle Project?
ADITI: For us, third party endorsement is really important because we want people to tell the story in their words. We’re also doing some advertising, just to raise awareness for people to know to go onto the bicyclefactory.ca. it’s very easy to do your part, just click and drag…all that kind of stuff and you can make a difference. We’re doing PR through social media, we’ve got Facebook fans…
HEATHER: This morning I did an interview with BT Toronto, yesterday with BT in Calgary, and then a couple of interviews there and then here. We did another interview this morning after BT, and then we did the Canadian Press and City TV. It’s been good.
ME: And then, how could a typical Canadian at home help? What is the best way?
HEATHER: Well, easy, all they have to do is go to the bicyclefactory.ca and log in. It takes the time or less time that it takes to brush your teeth, in order to log in, click and drag your product. You can do up to five products a day which means five bike parts a day that you’re contributing and you can make it kind of a daily thing. Even while you’re at breakfast, you can even do it on your mobile phones. It’s so easy. That’s how I’ve been doing mine actually, cause I’ve been on the road I’ve been logging in every day. It’s honestly gratifying. You can even spend an extra twenty seconds, if you actually want to scroll and search for your favourite products to drag. It’s been really fun for me, and it is SO easy.
ADITI: And we want Canadians to spread the word. So participate and spread the word!
HEATHER: You can log in and do it as an individual, or you can log in and sign up as a team. You can make a team. Your family can do it as a team and all your members of your family can sign in. It doesn’t cost a penny. It’s not one of these campaigns where you’re required to purchase a product. You’re just going to this site and it’s enabling you to make a difference in the world for free.
ME: Do either of you have any other thoughts you may want to add?
ADITI: We were talking about the advertising and the thing is a lot of our customers have been supporting us too with displays in-store, signage and merchandising in the stores and that’s also a way to raise awareness for Canadians.
Serena is a 30-something, gluten and dairy free, “smug-married”, self-proclaimed people-watcher just trying to navigate through this obstacle course called life. Her blog, Bewildered Bug, is her attempt to relay her everyday experiences and to inform you about everything she finds fascinating. She would love to hear from you so please feel free to say hello on her blog, Twitter or on Facebook.
No image of the actual gift basket but you can see a list of contents in the entry form!
Disclosure: I was not sent any compensation for this post, nor was I provided with any product.