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Our Community: Bicycles for Africa, $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity

The Victoria chapter of Bicycles for Humanity is once again accepting good used bikes, financial donations and spare parts to fill a shipping container for disadvantaged communities in Africa.
Chris Willie, co-director of the Victoria chapter of Bicycles for Humanity, with bikes collected last year. This year, the group has collected 300 bicycles for Africa, with room for another 150. When the container goes, it will mark the 5,900th bike shipped to Africa since 2008. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Be a big wheel, help send bicycles to Africa

The Victoria chapter of Bicycles for Humanity is once again accepting good used bikes, financial donations and spare parts to fill a shipping container for disadvantaged communities in Africa.

To date, the group has collected 300 bicycles, with room for another 150. It’s the group’s 13th shipment, and will mark the 5,900th bike shipped to Africa since 2008. Two container loads have gone to Namibia and two to Uganda, while the last eight have gone to Malawi.

The year, the organization is partnering with One Love Africa Foundation, which gives some of the donated bicycles to needy individuals and sells the rest to raise money for projects and provide programs to the community.

One Love is opening a Bicycle Empowerment Centre that will train marginalized youth on bicycle mechanics and welding, providing them with employment skills.

One of the One Love recipients from the Village of Newlands in Tanzania writes: “I received one bicycle for my kids and it helps them a lot especially going to school and they are not tired anymore, also I received one for me, it has a big impact in my life, I’m using it to go to the farm, for physical exercise, I’m no longer walking for long time or long distance. Also other peoples who received these bicycles helping them to go the different markets when doing their businesses also give their children to take them to school especially those schools are far from our village. Thank you — people in Canada are very nice we love you and thank you a lot.”

Donated bikes need to be in reasonable, repairable condition.

Bikes can be dropped off at the residence of Chris Willie, co-director of the Victoria chapter of Bicycles for Humanity, at 847 Royal Oak Ave. To arrange for pick-up, call 250-479-7415.

Victoria student wins $10,000 Habitat for Humanity grant

A Victoria student has won a $10,000 grant in Habitat for Humanity’s Meaning of Home writing contest, which asks students in grades 4, 5, and 6 to share what home means to them.

Grade 6 student Levi B was one of nine runners-up across the country, out of more than 13,000 students who entered the contest, which raised more than $311,000 for Habitat for Humanity organizations across Canada.

By sharing what home means to them, the students also learned about affordable housing issues in their communities.

In addition to three grand prize winners, who won a $30,000 grant each for a local Habitat, the nine runners up won $10,000 grants.

Every student who entered the contest earned a $10 donation for their local Habitat group.

The Meaning of Home contest is a unique opportunity for students to reflect on what home means to them, said Tiffany Gates, director of family services at Habitat for Humanity Victoria, who said the charity is “delighted” to receive a $10,000 grant for its build fund.

“In essence, school children in Victoria are directly contributing to building homes in our community. We hope next year even more students are given this opportunity to participate in this impactful contest.”

To read all the winning entries, go to

World Oceans Day makes waves

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Eagle Wing Tours are hosting World Oceans Day at Fisherman’s Wharf today.

The family-friendly educational event highlights all things ocean-related, including divers, touch tanks, crafts, watershed models and flying orcas.

More than 20 participants will be featured on site. The event is free to attend. It runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Fisherman’s Wharf, 1 Dallas Rd.

Terry Fox Run organizer needed

The Terry Fox Foundation is looking for a run organizer and event volunteers to help with this year’s Victoria Terry Fox Run.

On Sept. 18, hundreds of thousands of people across Canada will lace up to participate in the annual Terry Fox Run to raise funds for cancer research.

The event is non-competitive, grassroots and family-oriented, with communities all over Canada joining together to realize Terry Fox’s vision of a world without cancer. Victoria has hosted an annual Terry Fox Run since 1985, contributing more than $1 million to cancer research.

The foundation will work closely with the volunteer chair and provide support, training and materials to ensure the success of this year’s run. They are hoping to find an enthusiastic and organized individual who possesses leadership skills and wants to make a difference in the world.

For more information, contact: Jack Basterfield, director of community development at or 1-888-836-9786.

Artists in tune for natural high

Opera singers join poets, drummers and community activators in Pacific Opera Victoria’s Voices in Nature, a performance billed as reflecting the beauty of the natural environment and immersing visitors in a deeply rooted feeling of place, at Saxe Point June 13 and 18.

Now in its second summer, Voices in Nature brings together multidisciplinary artists including local poets Kate Braid, Zoe Dickenson, Beth Kope, Marlene Grand Maître and Terese Svoboda, and members of Pacific Opera’s Civic Engagement Quartet — bass Simon Chalifoux, tenor Mike Fan, soprano and composer Rebecca Gray, and countertenor Ryan Patrick McDonald.

This drop-in activity introduces people to native wildflowers and local bees. QR codes throughout the grounds connect visitors to, a free non-profit hub, along with excerpts from 58 Solutions for Lighter and Happier Living, a guide to living more fully and sustainably.

Admission is free. Organizers recommend visitors set aside approximately one hour to enjoy the park and performances. For more information, including transportation and parking, go to

Cleaning up for history

After a two-year hiatus, St. Luke’s Church is once again inviting the community to drop by to either visit or take part in a clean-up of their historic cemetery on June 18.

Drop in any time that morning to see what’s new in the cemetery, ask a cemetery committee member to help find a family grave or assist with the cleanup.

St. Luke’s Cemetery is one of Victoria’s earliest church burial grounds and the final resting place of many Cedar Hill, Lake Hill and Gordon Head pioneers, as well as others who settled in the area.

The first recorded interment was in 1886, although there were likely unrecorded burials prior to that. Many people in the Greater Victoria area have had parents, grandparents and great-grandparents buried in St. Luke’s Churchyard. You can learn about some of the early residents of the area while helping with needed upkeep.

The event runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 18 at the church, 3821 Cedar Hill Cross Rd. For more information, go to

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