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Cycling for Change

In our first world bubble, we cannot help but find ourselves in a perpetual state of hypocrisy, as none of us really wish for millions to live in poverty, yet for the most part, we don’t do anything to help those most in need. This is where Alex Carpenter has decided to go against the grain, to actually design a business model focused on poverty alleviation rather than profit margins.

Alex Carpenter has always been passionate about cycling. When travelling around India with his wife, he was struck by the devastating poverty and felt a drive to find a solution. Coupled with his enthusiasm as a social entrepreneur, Alex came up with the idea for Atma Cycles.

Atma Cycles is a business that operates on consumer powered change. For every bike they sell in Australia, they will give a bike to someone in need in India. With a promise to donate at least 50% of their profits to charity, this one for one business model needs to be community driven; you can check out their crowd funding page here.

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Alex on the Marashtra – the first model offered by Atma.

For $499 you will get a fixed wheel/single speed bicycle for yourself, The Marashtra, named after the village where the company will send the other bike. Working with The Mann Deshi Foundation in India, school girls in early high school will receive a locally manufactured bicycle to help them get to school every morning. Other bike models are planned to follow the Marashtra, as the company expands and helps more and more villages.

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Through these actions, the company aims to increase school enrolment by 30% and reduce the gender gap by 40% by helping young girls access education. In addition to supporting the local economy through bike production and distribution.

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With a personal connection to the cause (his wife is Indian) and a love for all things on two wheels Alex’s brainchild is sure to do well, provided the community gets behind his dream as well.

Personally, as someone who was already considering buying a bike similar to the Marashtra, it makes perfect sense to buy this one and support someone in need at the same time, especially when it’s something as important as education and reducing the gender gap. And as Tim Minchin said “I’ll give you fifty bucks to take away my guilt.” If you already have a bike, or don’t fancy the one geared approach, Atma Cycles also accepts donations in exchange for a polo shirt or messenger bags and funding towards the project.

Sian Sugars is a journalist and Flint contributor, based in Perth, Australia.

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