During the summer of 2012, 16-year old Sebouh Bazikian from Los Angeles, California, discovered that the children from the Machao Orphanage in Makueni, Kenya, have to walk two hours a day in brutal, blistering African heat to get to school. And then they have to do it again to get home. Sebouh imagined how physically draining this devastating trek must have been for the orphans. He thought about how they must have been so exhausted from the sun and the hike, that how could they even have had enough energy to concentrate on their lessons once they got there? Or enough energy to do homework after the hike home? Sebouh knew these orphans needed help. And, as with all of our Peace Fund Radio Heroes of the Week, he knew he had to find a way to make a difference.
So Sebouh started his own charity called Bikes 4 Orphans to accomplish two goals. His first goal was to find a way to supply the orphans with bicycles that would get them back and forth to school. The secondary goal was giving the children something they could be proud of. Something to own. Something to take care of. The bikes would give them hope and self-worth and confidence and even fun for perhaps the first times in their lives.
With the help of local bike shops, Sebouh was able to send 43 bicycles to the orphans at Machueni. He's also raised enough money to purchase 20 bicycles for the Daos Children Centre in Mombasa, Kenya, and 11 bicycles for the Khayelisha Care Project in Tugela Ferry, South Africa, which will all be delivered next summer.
Last week, Sebouh's most recent Bike-A-Thon/Hike-A-Thon raised $6,000 with assistance from sponsors including Solemn Bound, the St. Francis Mountain Biking Team, the Glendale Adventist Medical Team, Warner Bros. Pictures, PAA, Incycle, Pasadena Cyclery, and Vita Coco.