Walter Pack and NER Group develop a bike donation initiative to support education in Uganda

Self-management and social development are two of the principles that rule the work of the organizations that make up the NER Group, including Walter Pack. Our commitment to solidarity is not limited to offering concrete help to a specific group, but to providing them with the tools they need to give them greater autonomy and contribute to their self-sufficiency.

Self-management and social development

“If you give a fish to a hungry man you will feed him one day; if you give him a rod and teach him to fish he will eat forever”. This parable, attributed to Confucius, reflects the philosophy that inspires the latest actions in which Walter Pack has participated together with NER Group. The latest of these, in which we are involved together with the Saluganda organization, consists of a campaign to collect bicycles to send to Uganda with the aim of reducing the travel difficulties of the 130 teachers to the Sustainable Schools that we have been promoting since 2012 and to facilitate teaching in these communities.

Most of the teachers who teach in these schools have great difficulties to move outside their environment to the communities where they are located. They often have to cover long distances on foot of up to two hours to teach classes or, if necessary, face a significant financial cost to take a public cab to an area close to the centers. The challenge that we have proposed to develop until October 28th is to get these teachers the bicycles that allow them to cover the routes more easily, maintain their teaching activity and, at the same time, give a second life to the bikes.

To achieve this challenge, at Walter Pack we have converted part of our warehouse into a collection point for all types of bicycles, both adult and children’s, touring, mountain bike, etc., that are in good condition. Once here, through the Seur Foundation, we will make a first shipment to a repair point of the Alberto Contador Foundation, which will be responsible for tuning them and fix small breakdowns such as punctures and other minor problems that can be solved quickly.

Although our goal is to send to Uganda only adult bicycles that are in good condition, we want to collect all kinds of bikes to donate the rest to the foundation driven by the former cyclist from Madrid with the aim of managing their distribution to other people in need.

This project is a continuation of the initiative that Walter Pack and NER Group began to develop together with the Saluganda organization a decade ago, always with the same goal of seeking self-management and social development. The first objective was the implementation of these Sustainable Schools, aimed at improving the hygienic and sanitary conditions, food and environmental education of almost 3,000 students in seven Ugandan orphanage-schools. This initiative provided them with Ecosan latrines, drinking water tanks, chicken coops, pigsties and school gardens to move towards self-sufficiency. Years later, an eighth school was added, the only one in the region for students with motor disabilities. A total of 130 teachers currently teach in these educational spaces.

Next, in 2014, we participated in the Women’s Livestock Cooperatives project, which has helped five groups of women without resources and with large families to set up pig-raising cooperatives. These farms, designed to complete the production cycle, have become the main livelihood of these women and their families, and also a source of funding for 3 new similar initiatives: the cooperatives donate a portion of the piglets born on the farms to extend the project to new groups of women, so that currently fifty or so large families benefit directly from it.

In addition to these two projects, two complementary actions have been developed recently. On the one hand, the purchase of sewing machines to make masks during COVID, and the provision of reusable masks to overcome home confinement and the conflicts associated with this situation in a particularly depressed area. On the other hand, the translation of the Saluganda website into Basque and English to extend the project in order to obtain more institutional support.

All these initiatives are aimed at strengthening Walter Pack’s and NER Group’s commitment to society and contributing to fairer and more sustainable human development.