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Kona AfricaBikes Head to Vietnam

Published October 15, 2009

FERNDALE, WA (BRAIN)—Kona Bicycles and Roadmonkey Adventure Philanthropy have partnered to provide Kona AfricaBikes to ethnic minority students in Vietnam's Central Highlands.

In Vietnam, Roadmonkey identified the need—the Kon Ray boarding school for gifted ethnic minority students in an impoverished region near the city of Kon Tum—and Kona filled it, with 16 of its AfricaBikes that will provide transportation to the neediest students.

The Kona bikes will be delivered next month, when Roadmonkey will lead a two-week "adventure philanthropy" expedition through the Central Highlands, cycling some 300 miles from Danang into the Central Highlands, and then spending four days building an organic farm at the Kon Ray school. The farm will help create a sustainable revenue stream for the school.

Roadmonkey's non-profit partner for the farm-building project is the East Meets West Foundation, one of the most respected charitable groups operating in Vietnam.

"There's a tremendous need for basic supplies and reliable transportation in this region of Vietnam, particularly in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana last month," said Paul von Zielbauer, a former New York Times reporter and Iraq correspondent and the founder of Roadmonkey. "The ethnic minority students at the Kon Ray school come from a variety of indiginous tribes, and Kona's AfricaBikes will help these kids get to school safely and reliably."

A 10-person Roadmonkey team, led by von Zielbauer, will pedal into the Kon Ray school region on November 6, en route through the Central Highlands and along the road that follows what was, during the war with the United States, known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Team Roadmonkey, working with the East Meets West Foundation and the Kon Ray teachers, government officials and community residents, will assemble the Kona AfricaBikes, build the organic farm and plant 250 trees that will help the school underwrite further scholarships to children in need of basic education.

"Roadmonkey's philanthropic approach to adventure travel is a perfect fit for Kona's AfricaBike program." said Jacob Heilbron, Kona's chief executive officer. "The AfricaBike was designed specifically to be used to improve fundamental quality of life conditions in impoverished areas of the world. Roadmonkey's trips are designed to do the same. It's a great way for us to expand the reach of the AfricaBike program."

Topics associated with this article: Advocacy/Non-profits

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