This year 30 new bicycle ambulances will start serving villages in Mozambique thanks to generous donors who gave more than $18,000 through Gifts for Mission, the Anglican Church of Canada’s gift guide.
Bicycle ambulances are stretchers hitched to the back of bikes, providing faster trips to health clinics. The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is setting up 100 ambulance projects in Mozambique. Each project is community run, provides employment, and connects with other maternal health programs.
One such ambulance was a gift from St. James Anglican Church in Ingersoll, Ont. For their outreach Sunday last year, St. James supported local and international causes-and raised $600 for one bike ambulance.
So why a bike ambulance? Several St. James members had visited developing countries and seen huge gaps in health care.
The Rev. Meghan Evetts, rector of St. James, saw this when visiting Anglican partners in the Diocese of Mthatha, South Africa. Her group visited a slum and saw a small nursing station that only carried painkillers and bandages. Expectant mothers had to walk at least 10 kilometres to the clinic—often over rough dirt paths.
For the people of St. James, bicycle ambulances were an easy pick: they serve a practical need, help whole communities, and are easy to fix.
It seems that PWRDF partners like them too.
“Even as we get behind the project, our partners are expanding on it,” said Simon Chambers, PWRDF’s communications coordinator. “They continue to explore how they can use the resources they now have to best serve their communities.”
In Mozambique, health care centres are considering how to hitch ambulance trailers to motorcycles.
In Bangladesh, PWRDF partners are planning 35 new bicycle ambulance projects.
It’s a growing project to keep an eye on: bike ambulances are one way Canadian Anglicans can expand their generosity and live out their faith.
“For me, one of the things about being a church is recognizing the world’s needs beyond our walls,” said Ms. Evetts.
“As followers of Christ we need to walk in his footsteps and offer help where we can, no matter the distance.”
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